The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is shocked and alarmed over the steady perpetration and perpetuation of anti democratic, anti rule of law and anti constitutional conducts by the Buhari administration otherwise called State terrorism. The most shocking aspect of it all is that as days go by, these despicable and condemnable conducts continue to escalate and deepen. The DSS has fully gone on rampage against Citizens Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki using trumped up charges, kangaroo court orders and abusive power of arrest.
Further, as there are spoilers of peace and conflict profiteers in violent conflict; the State terrorism governing styles of the Buhari administration have also thrown up profiteers of self determination or peaceful assemblies. The commonwealth of Nigerians are now hugely being deployed by the so called powers that be to hire leprous voices to label those exercising their legitimate and constitutionally given rights to peaceful assembly and association; movement, personal liberty, life, dignity of person, fair hearing and equality before the law as well as their regionally and internationally guaranteed rights to existence, development and self determination; as evil doers, jobless people in Europe, street urchins and jobless citizens in the streets of Nigeria.
Rather than going back to the governance drawing board to right the wrongs being complained of or agitated for, zero-sum game or lose-lose approaches instead of win-win approaches have been extensively deployed by the Buhari administration to escalate the raging early warning signals. Today, the wife of the President has become a self appointed ambassador of war and divide-and-rule; visiting blessed virgin Mary (mother of peace and enemy of injustice) adoration grounds; asking her to become the mother of injustice. Lepers of social justice and latter day Judases have also sprung up or mobilized and scripted to disassociate or renounce their constitutional, regional and international rights cited above, which are being asserted peacefully for collectivism by other millions of Nigerian citizens. These damage control and divide-and-rule approaches so presidentially deployed have further emboldened the peaceful self determination agitators and drawn more global attentions and sympathies for their local, regional and international legitimate cause.
History has not forgotten to remind all and sundry that it was the fears of the minority nationalities over their possible dominance by the majority nationalities in the (would be) post colonial Nigeria that led to enshrinement of the Fundamental Human Rights Charter into the Independence Constitution of 1960. The same history further reminds that it was the Willinks Commission of 1957 that made such noble recommendation. Today, the Fundamental Human Rights Charter of the 1999 Constitution has not only served as a major basis for the advancement and protection of the rights of the minority nationalities, but also the rights of all Nigerians including the serving and past political office holders.
Return of Black Sheep in the Nigerian Judiciary: It is our authoritative information that the captivity ordeal of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu has further been compounded and complicated by President Muhammadu and his DSS. Apart from deliberate and inexcusable failure of the President and his DSS to produce Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court yesterday, as earlier ordered, for his trial leading to another firm order of the Magistrate Court (presided over by Mr. Shaibu Usman) for his mandatory production on Monday, 23rd November 2015; it is further socking to inform that the DSS has obtained a black market or phantom order of the Federal High Court in Abuja to keep Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in detention for ninety (90) days; starting from 10th November 2015. The order was dated same 10th November 2015.
The DSS had on 10th November 2015 (after detaining Citizen Nnamdi Kanu extra judicially for 21 days) secretly and un-popularly sought and obtained an ex-parte order or order ex-parte from Federal High Court Six sitting in Abuja, presided over by Hon Justice Alfa Ademola for detention of Citizen Kanu for ninety (90) days; for the purpose of investigating him for terrorism and terrorism financing. The spurious order was sought and obtained through a suit number: FCH/ABJ/CS/873/2015.
The order was sought and obtained in fragrant abuse of court process and disregard of the three consequential orders (bail, production and transfer to prison) of the Wuse 2 Magistrate Court made on 19th, 23rd and 26th October 2015 against the DSS. In granting the ex-parte order, the presiding Judge (Hon Justice Ademola) unprofessionally issued the order without hearing from the accused person or his defense counsel considering the weighty nature of the matter, which also attracts death penalty on conviction.
The DSS obviously misled the Court by refusing to inform same of another pending criminal proceeding it had earlier initiated against the same accused at the Magistrate Court as well as its flouting of the three consequential orders of the same court. The Service also engaged in clear abuse of court process by gambling with the rule of law and judicial process (i.e. resorting to technical justice and looking for judges willing to do its illegitimate biddings).The Federal High Court, on its part, failed damnably to uphold the sacred principle of hear the other side or audi alteram partem. The Judge who granted the spurious order is a black sheep in the Nigerian Judiciary and a protagonist of State terrorism and dictatorship. He also acted as if he is a pastoral nomad emerging from Sambisa Forest to the extent that he does know anything about the social background of the subject matter; even if he is a Born Before Computer (BBC) judge.
Spurious accusation of terrorism & terrorism financing against Nnamdi Kanu: Terrorism is commonly defined as the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims or an act designed to cause terror. It is also use of violence or threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes or a state of fear or submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. In Nigeria, there is the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 (amended in 2013). The Act had 41 sections and a schedule. Its Section 1(2) defines “act of terrorism‟ as an act which is deliberately done with malice after thought and which is intended or can reasonably be regarded as having been intended to (1) unduly compel a government or international organization to perform or to abstain from performing any act (II) seriously intimidate a population,(c)(I) may cause serious bodily harm or death (II) kidnapping of a person (III) destruction of a government or public utility, a transport system, an infrastructure facility, including an information system, a fixed platform located on continental shelf.
By its Section 1 (2) (h), anybody found guilty of terrorism in Nigeria is liable to be sentenced to death, while anybody found guilty of conspiracy in the commission of terrorism will be liable to life imprisonment. Section 2 gives power to a high court Judge to proscribe an organization that has a legacy of terrorism. However, this must be through an application made by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), National security Adviser (NSA) and Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the approval of the President. The proscribed organization(s) and the notice must be published in the official Gazette. Therefore, any person who belongs to such proscribed organization is guilty on conviction to a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment.
Apart from this section, Section 9(4) empowers the President to declare a body an international terrorist group if there are reasonable grounds to believe that such a group is under the influence of persons or groups outside Nigeria or listed as a terrorist group(s) in any United Nations Security Council, African Union or Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Resolution‟. But such presidential action must emanate on the recommendation of NSA and IGP. Section 10(1) is intended to monitor the movement of funds which terrorists use to cause mayhem in the neighbourhood. It clearly states that a person who provides funds with the intension of using such money for terrorist acts as stated in section 1 of the Act commits an offence and liable on conviction to maximum term of 20 years jail term. It is also important to remind that the Terrorism (Prevention) Act of 2011 as amended in 2013 is subject in spirit and letters, to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution including its Fundamental Human Rights Charter in its Chapter Four.
Linking Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and his Radio Biafra London (RBL) and Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to capital crime offense (death) of terrorism and its 20 years jail term of terrorism financing is a height of executive lawlessness, recklessness and abuse of office. Terrorism is clearly an act of mass violence or war against Nigeria or any part thereof. It is also a gross violation of the provisions of the same Terrorism Act of 2011 (amended in 2013) for the DSS to have disclosed judicially through its kangaroo court order of its investigation of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu for crimes of terrorism and terrorism financing when neither Citizen nor his RBL and IPOB has not been proscribed by a high court judge, acting on the recommendation of the trio of the Attorney General of the Federation, the National Security Adviser and the Inspector General of the Police; upon the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, which must pass through official gazette.
It is also worth emphasizing that Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and his RBL and IPOB have never used or advocated violence; neither have they taken up arms against the State of Nigeria or any part thereof. All their activities are non violent and peaceful and have so remained till date. They are only asserting their constitutional, regional and international rights to self determination, among others without recourse to violence of any form. This is unlike the activities of the so called “Fulani Herdsmen” (Fulani Islamic terror group) that have steadily remained violent and blood-soaking leading to death of thousands of innocent citizens of Nigeria in recent years with Nigerian Government doing nothing.
The State terrorism approaches being intensified by the Buhari administration and its DSS in the persecution of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu and his RBL and IPOB, manifesting in his current extra judicial incarceration and obtainment of a phantom court order to further hold him in perpetual captivity; are clearly similar to the State oiled ordeal of the former NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki. Laying siege on his residence and preventing him from enforcing his rights to life, personal liberty, equality before the law and movement as ordered by a court of superior records (Federal High Court); for the purpose of indicting him at all costs through hurriedly concocted interim presidential report on arms procurement; are clear acts of State terrorism and abuse of office.
The disrespect to the rule of law and respect for human rights by President Buhari and his DSS has reached an uncontrollable proportion. Accusation of embezzlement and fraud in Nigeria is not a capital offense warranting the present ordeal of Sambo Dasuki in the hands of President Muhammadu Buhari. A Presidential committee is not a high court and the principle of hear the other side must be exhausted by the suspect (Dasuki) irrespective of public incitement and sentiments being officially sponsored against him. He who alleges must judicially proof to the utmost satisfaction of the sacred principles of the rule of law. President Buhari and his DSS must also be constitutionally reminded that their power of arrest does not include powers to hold citizens hostage or detain them including Citizens Nnamdi Kanu and Sambo Dasuki in perpetuity and outside the rule of law and legitimately grounded judicial processes.
We wish to inform all Nigerians and members of the international community particularly the UN, EU, US, Vatican, France, India, Brazil, Australia, Germany, Canada, UK, Japan and the UN and the AU Rights Commissions or Committees that the era of indiscriminate use of trumped up or kangaroo charges and persecutorial justice is fully back in Nigeria. As was the case in 1984 to 1985 under then Buhari’s military administration, it has fully become a routine under the (same) Buhari’s present civilian administration. In July 2015, Sambo Dasuki was arrested and detained by DSS under a trumped up accusation of treasonable felony (life jail). Lack of evidence and public outcries forced the Service to abandon same and settle for unlawful possession of firearms (five to ten years jail), which is yet to be “prosecutorially” proved. Today, the same DSS is at it again; obtaining a phantom court order to detain Citizen Nnamdi Kanu in the guise of investigating him for terrorism and terrorism financing, in fragrant violation of the same Act it is relying upon (Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011); by labeling him and group as terrorist organization/individual, without recourse to the provisions of the Act (yet to be procedurally proscribed).
Finally, we commend Chief Magistrate Shaibu Usman of the Wuse Zone 2 Magistrate Court for standing firm in his conscience and defense of the rule of law and the integrity of the Nigerian Judiciary. By withstanding the threats and pressures of the so called powers that be and by insisting on doing that which ought to be done; he has written his name in immortal gold. As for Hon Justice Alfa Ademola of the Federal High Court Six, Abuja who issued a kangaroo detention order of ninety (90) days against Citizen Nnamdi Kanu without recourse to the sacred principle of audi alteram partem (hear or listen to the other side) in such sensitive matter that has drawn global attention and local outcries; it is our firm demand that he should be thoroughly investigated and sanctioned by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in accordance with extant laws.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program