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Friday 9 December 2016

Biafra: Treason: Buhari Is The Guilty Felon And Should Be In Jail, Not An Innocent Mother And Other IPOB Brethren Unjustly Held

Friday, December 9, 2016

Based on verifiable and irrefutable evidence, it is imperative to reiterate once again that Dictator Muhammadu Buhari who overthrew a democratically elected government of Alhaji Aliyu Usman Shehu Shagari on December 31, 1983, is the guilty felon here and not IPOB brethren scattered all over various Nigerian prisons.

In law, “treason” is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one’s sovereign nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife or that of a master by his servant.

Treason against the King was known as “high treason” and treason against a lesser superior was “petty treason”. A person who commits treason is known in law as a traitor.


A State can aptly be considered as an embodiment of the people. The state is represented by the government and thus, anyone who tries to overthrow the state or the government, is also attacking the people. Attacking the state through the form of war or trying to overthrow the government of the day is categorised under treason.

On the other hand, performing acts that are related to treason is regarded as treasonable felony. The major difference between treason and treasonable felony is the fact that while treason is punishable by death, treasonable felony is punishable by life imprisonment.

Acts which constitute treasonable felony in Nigeria are contained in the provisions of Section 40 to Section 43 of the Criminal Code. The first instance of treasonable felony is contained in Section 40 and according to this provision, anyone who becomes an accessory after the fact to treason or has knowledge that some people want to commit treason but doesn’t report to the appropriate authorities, is guilty of treasonable felony and would be punished by life imprisonment.


On the other hand, a person that has been discharged and acquitted of the offence of intention to commit treason cannot be charged for treason and according to the provisions of Section 43 of the Criminal Code, a person cannot be tried for treason or treasonable felony if the offence is tried two years after the commission of the act and no person can be convicted of treason unless he pleads guilty or there are more than two witnesses to attest to the fact that he committed the offence.

Furthermore, Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as “a citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the parent nation.” In many nations, treason is also often considered as an attempt or conspire to overthrow the government, even if no foreign country is aiding or involved by such an endeavor and in reference to the provisions of the Criminal Code, anyone who levies war against the State in order to intimidate or overawe the president or governor of a state is guilty of treason; the offence of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies which is punishable by death.
IPOB Unjustly Held And Arraigned In Igweocha (Port harcourt) Federal High Court

The essence of waging the war must be for general or public purpose, if it is just for private reasons, it would best be regarded as a riot or public disturbance.

But in Nigeria, the above definitions and postulations seems not to apply in the full sense of it. It appears that when one exercises his inalienable rights to demonstration, assembly, self-determination or rights to freedom of expression, it is being interpreted as “committing treason or treasonable felony,” by the government and its security agencies.

In every democratic society, each and every member of the society is granted the right to freedom of expression and assembly. In Nigeria, this right is contained in the provision of S. 39 of the 1999 Constitution.

Also, in determining the extent of a person’s right to freedom of expression, Ademola CJ in the case of DPP vs. Oby stated that “a person has every right to discuss any grievance or criticise, canvass and censor the act of government and their public policy. He may even do this with a view to effecting a change to the party in power or to call attention to some of the weaknesses of the government so long as he keeps within the limits of fair criticism.” It is clearly legitimate and constitutional, by means of fair argument, to criticise the government of the day.

The Nigerian government and her security forces’ understanding of the word “treason or treasonable felony”, is the arrest and prosecution of a certain man who is only speaking or criticizing over a radio in far away London for the innumerable injustices they have committed, or a set of people who have peacefully convened for the purpose of offering prayers, or a group of people peacefully demonstrating on the streets and demanding for their independence like it is being done in other nations. Even a friend of mine has to be arrested and charged with treason, simply because he went to pay a visit to victims of 30th May Heroes’ Day massacre who are lying critically ill in various hospitals. So all these are the set of people whom are currently facing charges bordering on treason in Nigeria today. Such is the definition of treason by the Nigerian agents even without providing evidences or satisfying the court with tangible reasons for the charges.

Recently, a mother and her suckling child appeared at a Federal High Court sitting at Port Harcourt on charges bordering on treason. The woman, her innocent child, along with others has since 2015 been in illegal detention going to a year now at the state’s maximum prison just for demanding for the unconditional release of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu. But unfortunately, ruling on their bail application is to be heard and delivered February, 2016. So that implies that the woman and her baby will have to remain behind bars till next year. What kind of injustice is this? Quite alarming!


It is unjust and illegal to detain a breastfeeding innocent mother
and her suckling child in prison on charges of treason. This is a great injustice to them. It is absurd, irrational and disheartening to continue to confine them in prison custody.

It should be noted that if any person who is under the age of 18 is assumed by omission or commission to be involved in treason, such person would not be executed but would be detained on the pleasure of the president Similarly, S. 39(2) of the Criminal Code provides that if a pregnant woman participates in treason, the procedure stated in S.376 of the Criminal Procedure Act should be followed.

But even at that, the law also gives room for bail in a circumstance whereby the Prosecution could not provide a satisfying and inarguable evidence that such offence was committed. In the present circumstance, the continued detention of the woman and her child is not only illegal but not obtainable in law.

The Nigerian government and her security agencies needs to be lectured on the difference when one demands for his fundamental rights and when one actually commits treason. The book of law never stated that one can commit treason by merely exercising his inalienable right to freedom of expression/speech, assembly, self-determination, demonstration and what have you. There is a clear distinction between these rights and treason. It cannot be interchanged or mistook for another, in a country that knows and recognizes law of personal liberty and human rights.

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers

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