Let us start this discourse by looking up dictionary definition of the words that make up this title: ‘’Honourable’’ and ‘’Justice’’. Hornourable is defined as possessing or characterized by high principles, worthy of or entitled to honour or esteem. Oxford English dictionary defined honourable as ‘’bringing or deserving honour’’; the dictionary also defined it as ‘’the quality of knowing and doing what is morally right.’’ While ‘’Justice’’ is defined as ‘’the quality of being fair and reasonable in the administration of law, especially the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity.’’
These definitions put together means that Justice Binta Nyako must be highly principled with the quality of knowing, as well as doing what is morally right. She should also be fair especially in the establishment and determination of rights according to the rules of law and/or equity. For the roles of judges in the court, Canadian Supreme Court Judges Association said: "To interpret the law, assess the evidence presented and control how hearings and trials unfold in their courtrooms. Most important of all, judges are impartial decision makers in the pursuit of justice".
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The aforementioned is the barometer with which Justice Binta will be measured as she presides over Nnamdi Kanu’s (the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB) case and the other accused persons. We witnessed the dance of shame by her predecessor, Dishonorable Injustice John Tsoho, which reduced Nigeria judiciary to a mockery before the International Community.
Looking at how Justice Binta performed on her first and second sittings on this case, skeptics are seeing a pattern in the way defense counsels are consistently harassed, replicating Tsoho's antics: she did not allow photograph or any kind of recording in the courtroom and ordered phones, cameras and all electronic devices confiscated.
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We also saw how she indirectly encouraged the harassment of IPOB supporters outside the courtroom by not stopping the DSS from intimidating and harassing them. We know she is under immense pressure to do what the president, Muhammadu Buhari, wants; as evident in the president’s maiden media chat, when he told the world what he wants done to Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
President Muhammadu Buhari ordered news blackout on the ongoing trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other trumped up charges in order to give the trial judge freedom and confidence to do his bidding. An unnamed DSS officer said this much to the hearing of one IPOB supporter in the court on 17th November. Credence was given to this assertion by the absence of all Nigeria media organizations in court that day and the harassment, intimidation and manhandling of IPOB journalists who came to cover the hearing by the DSS. Gadgets of IPOB journalists were seized and one journalist was arrested, taken to the basement, beaten and tortured like a common criminal. He was forced to write a statement under duress -that he is a terrorist; but the gallant Biafran told them that he will rather die than write that.
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One wonders if Nigeria is going backwards while the world is moving forward. The world is moving from just reporting court proceedings to life broadcast as was seen in the case of Oscar Pistorius in South Africa.
When President Buhari was shopping for a judge who will do his bidding, which is to jail Nnamdi Kanu, he was looking for a soft target, one whom his gestapo DSS can easily blackmail. Justice Binta, whose husband, Retired Gen. Murtala Nyako, is still under EFCC prosecution crossed all the Ts. DSS has already started the harassment of the judge by telling her to come to Aso Rock. When she refused to honour the invitation, plain clothes DSS operatives went to her house and she refused to open the gate for them; then they sent a threatening letter to her office.
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This is where she needs to fall back to the definition of her title. To justify the title of ‘’HONOURABLE JUSTICE’’, she must show that she is characterized by high principles; she must be able to withstand and ensure futility of Nigeria’s efforts to pervert justice. She must resist all efforts to make her loose the high respect and great esteem that go with that title and her profession as a judge. She should show her quality of knowing and doing what is morally right. She should also be fair and reasonable, especially in the establishment and determination of rights according to the rules of law and/or equity.
Honourable Justice Binta Nyako should know that this case is a high profile case that has wide audience following it around the world. The UK and EU Parliaments have mentioned this case, it has been mentioned in the US Congress, Italy just talked about this case. Many other countries are watching to see how this case is handled. Be sure that IPOB is in over 90 countries in the world and will not hesitate to nudge their hosts if they see any deviation from Nigerian Constitution. So, it should be noted that it is not only Nnamdi Kanu and his co-defenders that are on trial here: Justice Binta, Nigerian judiciary and the Nigerian government are also on trial.
Written By Joseph Afokwalam
Edited By Chinedu Ewulu
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers