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Thursday 19 October 2017

Biafra: I don’t know where my client is, whether he’s dead or alive, I don’t know - Kanu’s Lawyer insists

...Says proscription and designation of IPOB as terrorist group, views expressed only on pages of newspapers

By Chukwuemeka Chimerue and Chikwas Onu Ikpe | Biafra Writers Correspondents

October 19, 2017

ABUJA - The defense counsel to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has reiterated that he remains unaware of the whereabouts of his client after the military invasion of his hometown in Afaraukwu, Umuahia.

In this interview with Biafra Writers’ Correspondent after the Tuesday court session of which his client’s whereabouts was a major topic of discussion, the defense lawyer disclosed that trial cannot continue as a result of the IPOB leader’s recorded absent in court, saying he informed the court to ask the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, to produce him for trial.

He also noted that the proscription of IPOB and the designation of same as a terrorist organization by the Federal government, following an ex-parte order of the court, are views only expressed on newspaper publications.


Can you brief the general public on what really transpired in court today(17th October, 2017), especially as it bothers on the absence of your client, Nnamdi Kanu?

The matter came up for hearing as you’re aware. My client(Nnamdi Kanu) was granted bail on the 25th of April, 2017, and on a condition part of which we’re challenging before the Court of Appeal, so, and adjourned for hearing on the 11th and 12th of July. Incidentally, the adjourned dates falls within the vacation period of the trial court; and adjourned out of record till date, that is 17th day of October, 2017.

In-between the period, the military invaded his premises on the 14th of September, and killed 28 persons, wounded many, including his car, his cook. Surely before the invasion, I spoke with him five minutes before they gained entrance to his house. And he told me that they’re already laying siege in his house. I promised to inform the world. Here and there, I granted a Press release which I issued a statement to that effect that the military is(then) invading his premises. So, that was my last communication with him. Till date, I have not heard from him. I don’t know whether he is alive or dead.

READ ALSO: Biafra: Outrage as Kanu’s absence in court breaches proceedings [Full Details]

So today, the matter came up and traditionally, the matter cannot go on in his absentia and the court want to find out where he is. We told court that we have filed an application compelling the Chief of Army Staff to produce him before this court. And that application has been slated for hearing on the 2nd day of November, 2017.

I also informed the court about the danger of making pronouncements that may pre-empt what would be the outcome of that Suit. The court actually ordered the surety to come and explain further his whereabouts.

So this stands to say that you’re accusing the Nigerian army of having your client?

Fantastic! He’s in their custody. And the fact is that we’re afraid as to whether he’s still alive today. They’re with him; and we have filed a Suit to that effect before this court. It has been assigned to this court. That Suit is compelling the Chief of Army Staff to produce him in this court. It is not a mere accusation. We’ve gone farther than that.

What so far has been done, concerning the proscription of IPOB as a terrorist organization?

Now, let me use this opportunity to inform the whole world about the proscription order the Federal government obtained against IPOB. Before now, we have already applied for that order to be vacated. The application was slated for hearing, next week Monday, being the 23rd of October, 2017.

In-between time, we have applied for the certified two copies of the processes filed in that application. At a point, the Attorney General, AG, was arguing it. So, surprisingly, we were only yesterday obliged the documents the AG filed at the point of moving that application and we were shocked to observe that the documents being an obtained order for proscribing IPOB, and tagging them as terrorist group were only newspaper publication; views expressed on newspapers, nothing more.

READ MORE: Biafra: Between Lies and Denials Nigeria Defence Minister Confirms Army Raid at Kanu's Home

Including the declaration made by the military which they later made a volte face and said they never made such declaration. These are part of the documents they(FG) relied upon at the point of making an application for that.

There is no basis in law whatsoever and fact under why that application should be granted based on these documents because we have features of terrorist groups which is clearly provided under the extant laws. And those features are not present in the activities of IPOB. So, we’re coming back here on the 23rd of October to argue that motion. Thank you.

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