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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

INTERVIEW WITH BARRISTER IFEANYI EJIOFOR ON THE RULING OF THE APPEAL COURT OF 25TH MAY, 2016


The legal defense counsel to the leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu and two other co-defendants, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, after the ruling of the Appellate court on 25th of May, 2016, granted an exclusive interview to Chukwuemeka Chimerue of Biafra Writers.
In this interview, he explained what he classified as the dismissal and failure of the Appeal court in granting his clients bail based on frivolous grounds and the position of (In)Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in upturning his previous ruling without an appropriate or legal appeal by the Prosecution lawyers. He also made it abundantly clear that the case will be forwarded to the Supreme court to contend against the ruling of Justice Abdul Aboki of the Appeal Court.

Excerpts......

BIAFRA WRITERS: Sir, What was the outcome of the appellate court sitting today?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: We got the notice of the appeal judgment of the appellate court just yesterday night (24th may,2016) before the ruling of today, so we went to court this morning and the Appeal court upheld the decision of the trial court and thereafter dismissed the appeal. Relying on the grounds upon which the trial court refused them bail, that formed the fulcrum of the basis upon which the appeal was dismissed.

BIAFRA WRITERS: What exactly was the basis behind the court's refusal of your clients’ bail today?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: That is a kind of technical issue I may not be able to exactly express via this medium. The fact is that the court made reference to the point that the operations of IPOB and the activities of IPOB are highly inimical to the bail proposal as held by the trial court and as such, the offences upon which they are facing are serious offences and that the trial court reserves the discretion to which to operate judiciously.

BIAFRA WRITERS: Justice Abdul Aboki dismissed the appellant's application as “grossly lacking in merit.” What is your view in this?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: Well, that is one of the acceptance of the Appeal court. We are heading to the Supreme court to bring before it, the same appeal and possibly exhaust all the issues we raised before them because we believe that most of the issues we raised before the Court of Appeal, were not trashed out.

BIAFRA WRITERS: What has Kanu's possession of dual citizenship got to do with his denial of bail?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: The Appeal Court made a casual reference to it by saying that they will partner the court in the course of granting bail; that is they would consider and take it into account in the course of granting bail. But they didn't state that it would be a ground upon which a bail can be refused, so they just stated that it is a factor that the court will take into cognisance at the point of considering an application for bail brought by a person facing such charges.

BIAFRA WRITERS: What was the ruling of the Appeal court on the application to reassign Kanu's case file to another judge?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: That has not been fully taken. It hasn't been considered. It is still upcoming. It is a different appeal. I don't know who is reporting that, because it wasn't part of what the Appeal court decided today.

BIAFRA WRITERS: The Prosecution team of the federal government accused your defendants of attempting to use frivolous interlocutory appeals to delay trial. What do you have to say concerning this?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: That shouldn't be a frivolous interlocutory appeal. You should understand that the appeal the variation of the court order is a matter that bothers on the fundamentals of constitutional issues and it's better the court of Appeal intervenes at this stage. That was why we went to the Appellate court, because we are talking about the procedures that the Federal High Court has adopted in conducting the trial and so in this procedure, we are saying that having ruled on 19th of February that a certain procedure will be adopted and on the 7th of March, you made a U-turn and suddenly changed on what you ruled on the 19th of February. So we said “No, it is appealable, you have to come back to what you have initially ruled on the 19th of February.”
Because if the Prosecution wants to challenge what was ruled on the 19th, they would have gone on an appeal instead of coming back on 7th March to make another position for you to vary your order. And these are issues that bothers on constitutional matters that will guarantee fair trial to the defendants. It can't be considered anywhere as a serious application because it bothers on constitutional matters and the defendant's fundamental rights to fair trial.

BIAFRA WRITERS: Finally Sir, what is the next line of action for you and your clients?

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: Like I mentioned earlier, we are proceeding to the Supreme court; that is another available option for now to challenge the judgment of the appeal. The process of transmitting the records to the Supreme court has been initiated today.

BIAFRA WRITERS: Thank you for your time barrister, that would be all for now.

BARRISTER EJIOFOR: You are welcome.

INTERVIEWER: Chukwuemeka Chimerue.
For Biafra Writers.

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