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Friday 16 December 2016

Biafra: Justice Kafarati To Rule On Madubugwu and Nwawuisi’s Violation Of Fundamental Rights Suit On Feb 9, 2017

Friday 16 December, 2016

ABUJA— Justice Abdullahi Kafarati of the Court 2 Division of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on 13th December, 2016, entertained a fundamental human rights suits lodged before it against the Nigerian government, the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami, SAN, by the two currently detained pro-Biafra activists, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, seeking for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights.

They also prayed the court to grant them the total sum of One Billion Naira each, as compensatory damages against the Federal government and other parties involved for the violation of their human rights.

The suit was filed by their legal representatives, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor who is standing in for the first respondent, Benjamin Madubugwu and Barrister Ezeugwu China for the second respondent, David Nwawuisi.

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According to the DSS, a dane gun and some other personal belongings were recovered after raiding the house and vehicle of the first respondent, Madubugwu and was consequently charged on offences of terrorism while the second respondent, Nwawuisi; an Engineer, was arrested in Enugu after his alleged installation of Radio Biafra transmitters on MTN mast and was charged with offences bordering on treason and terrorism.

It was learnt that Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja who had hitherto ruled on the matter ordered the Prosecuting counsel, S.N Labaran to return the items recovered from Madubugwu but they are yet to comply with the order.

In an interview with BIAFRA WRITERS, Barrister Ejiofor stated that the two Biafra agitators were detained beyond the stipulated time allowed by the law and they are asking for a compensation of one billion naira.


Ejiofor said: “the law prescribed a period of time within which someone can spend in custody and within that period of time which is 48 hours, if that person is not arraigned in court, a court order must be obtained to legalize the detention, but in a situation when that is not done, then that means the detention of that person has become illegal.

“It is only in serious cases like in the case of capital offences with capital punishment such as murder, etc, that you can talk about detaining someone for over the stipulated 48 hours on investigation.

“So in this case, we have filed a charge preferred against David Nwawuisi and Benjamin Madubugwu to show the court that the offences they were charged with are not capital offences that can attract more than 5 years imprisonment and as such, they don’t suppose to detain them for more than 48 hours.”

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The Full Detailed Court Proceedings:

Speaking to the Court, Barr. Ejiofor recalled that on the 1st day of November, 2016, an application was filed and date set for the hearing of the suit and proceeded in handing over an acknowledgment copy of the motion.

According to the legal counsel to the 2nd respondent, Barrister Chika, a motion against Nwawuisi’s illegal detention was filed on 22nd of November and the judge asked Ejiofor if he has seen the motion but he argued that he only had that of the 1st respondent and that was given to the judge.  Justice Kafarati also asked Barrister Chika to present copies of the motion she had applied.

Barrister Ejiofor also notified the court with an objection challenging a certain application of which he had filed a counter affidavit, “The first respondent filed an objection which is dated on the 14th day of June 2016 and all processes have been presented before our lordship". That’s the objection challenging the lawsuit which we have filed a counter affidavit for he said.

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“In response to the objection raised by the 2nd respondent, the 1st respondent has filed a 24 paragraph counter affidavit. The first respondent had on point of law filed a suit for the protection of his fundamental rights,” he said.

Ejiofor thereafter, asked the court to determine the legitimacy of the first respondent to still remain in detention after six months without trial.

Justice Kafarati asked if Barrister Chika has same objection and she concurred, saying; “We are moving in pursuant to item 7 rule 3 of the fundamental human right and it is before you.

“My Lord in response to the pre-objection of the first respondents, the applicant has filed a 24 paragraph affidavit. We are relying on exhibit Nd1, after being in detention for over six months and it is dated 22nd day of June 2016.

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“We are relying on all the argument canvassed therein, in pursuant to determine the issue, if its right to keep the defendants in detention for over six months. My Lord all the argument is comprehensive,” she stated.

Ejiofor told the court that the second respondent also filed an objection on 17th June, 2016, urging the Lordship to prevail on certain sections of the fundamental human rights law to deliver ruling on it.

“My Lord, the second respondent filed an objection 17th day of June 2016. We are relying on pursuant to item 7 of the fundamental human right.

Quoting section 46 subsection 6 of the 1999 constitution, on the fundamental rights on the African Charter on Human Rights, Ejiofor canvassed for the release of the first respondent.

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In support of the application, they also filed an affidavit, praying the court to grant all the reliefs sought by the first respondent.

“My Lord, we have in pursuant to Section 6(6) and section 36, 42 in the 1999 constitution of Nigeria, pursuit 1, 2, 3 of the fundamental human right, 4, 5, 6, 7B and D of the African Charter of peoples’ right. My lord, in compliance with these rules, we have filed application of the fundamental human right of the applicants.”

“I most humbly urge your lordship, to grant this application. My Lord in support of the motion, we have filed on 19th day of September 2016. We are relying on our arguments, for the respondents to be released, through the fundamental human right.

“The 1st respondent filed a counter affidavit on 14th day of June 2016. The counter affidavit is of 24 paragraphs, posted by Emmanuel Ayiola. My lord, I humbly demand that the first respondent should be released,” Ejiofor stated.

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“My Lord, the second defendant also filed a counter affidavit on the 9 day of September 2016, which has 24 paragraphs. My Lord, we urge this honourable court to release the defendant, because for someone to be detained for such long period of time is against human right.”

Ejiofor also urged the court to dismiss the application filed by the Prosecutor, describing it as “frivolous, unmeritorious.”

“My Lord, we have raised a fundamental rule, to determine if his Lordship is in position to hear this suit. We urge your Lordship to dismiss this hearing.

“The application filed by the Prosecutor, is frivolous and have no basis, hence it should be struck out.”

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He also pointed out that the first respondent filed a counter affidavit on 19th day of May, 2016, that on articles 4, 5 and 7 of the Fundamental Rights Charter the court should grant the fundamental rights of the 1st respondent

He told the court that the pump action gun recovered from the house of the 1st respondent, Benjamin Madubugwu is not admittable praying the court to grant his immediate release.

He also prayed the court to grant the relief of the applicant by ordering for the return of all the properties and personal belongings recovered at the point of arrest of the first respondent.

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“My Lord, it was agreed that once the items collected from the 1st respondent is returned, it will be handed over to his family and it is contained in paragraph 49.”

“The first respondents also filed a counter affidavit to the suit, on the 19th of May, 2016, in pursuant to section 35, 36, 41, 43, 44 and 46 subsection 1 or 2, of 1999 constitution as amended. Article 4, 5, 6, 7B and D of the African Charter of human rights.

“We have filed this in compliance of the fundamental human rights of the applicants and it is of 18 paragraphs, which was posted by Ayiola. Also in support of it, is exhibit b1 and b2.”

Ejiofor told the Court that the first respondent had in an objection dated 14th June, raised one fundamental issue, relying on the arguments canvassed therein, the Court should dismiss the 1st respondent application.

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Barrister Chika who adopted the motion of Barrister Ejiofor, told the court that the second respondent filed a motion for extension of time on 21st June, 2016, adding that since the application was not countered by the second respondent, she will be aligning herself with the submissions of the first respondent.

She also prayed the court for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of the second respondent, adopting the written address as their position, she asked the court to strike out the application and name of the second respondent where he has made an application that cannot be upheld or obtainable by law.

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“My Lord, we have a motion which is dated 21st day of June 2016. Since the applicant is not opposing our application, we move in terms with Barrister Ejiofor.

“We filed a written address in support of the counter affidavit. In the address three issues were raised. My Lord, we adopt our written address as our argument and urge this honourable court to strike out the application against the second respondent,” she responded.

Ejiofor also told the Court that they want to resolve the four issues raised by the first respondent but that the court should grant other reliefs sought by the applicant.

Justice Kafarati after hearing their submissions adjourned the case to 9th day of February 2016 for ruling.

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue
And Anyikwa Cynthia 
For Biafra Writers

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