Aloy Ejimakor, the legal counsel for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has said that the British authorities will eventually have an upper hand over the Nigerian government in the case of his client.
The lawyer said the Nigerian government’s display of stubbornness in obeying the law and following human rights procedures may lead to diplomatic fracture between the two countries.
He expressed this while responding to a question on whether the British High Commission is doing enough to help the secessionist leader that has been in the custody of the Department of the State Services (DSS) since June.
The legal practitioner asserted that even though the British Consulate, as well as Kanu’s legal representatives, are being frustrated by the Nigerian authorities, justice will prevail in the case of the IPOB leader.
Ejimakor said this in an exclusive interview with SaharaReporters on Sunday.
“I cannot really say for certain that the British High Commission is not doing enough in helping Nnamdi Kanu. It’s like saying the lawyers are not doing enough. You can see the frustration we are passing through as lawyers. It’s illustrative that there are frustrations other interested parties might also be passing through that they are not talking about because of some diplomatic niceties.
“But one thing I can tell you is that in the end, British power and outrage will prevail. Britain does not have a reputation of abandoning its citizens in distress. What we are looking at is most probably patient diplomacy that will as soon come to maturation and produce results.
“I hope the intransigence of the Nigerian government will not push the British to resort to similar measures taken over the Umaru Dikko attempted extraordinary rendition in 1984, where people went to jail and diplomatic relations soured for two years.
“Still, I’m profoundly concerned that the urgency Kanu’s matter demands won’t be submerged under some complex foreign relations issues no one knows about. In the interim, what his situation immediately demands from the British is what is called ‘Consular Assistance’, geared to basically his welfare and a sense of appreciation of the raw illegality that saw him brought to Nigeria. As a citizen in good standing, he deserves that much, plus more,” Ejimakor said.
Speaking on the next line of legal action against the DSS who did not bring Kanu to court on July 26 and also barred his lawyers from seeing him despite an order by a Federal High Court, Ejimakor said a Form 48 was filed in that regard.
“Well, a Form 48 was filed. It is a Notice of Consequences of Disobedience of Court Order. That was filed on Friday by my colleague, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor. That was supposed to warn the DSS of the consequences of disobeying the order on visitation with Mazi Kanu.
“When someone disobeys a court order, you file a Form 48 to let him know there are consequences. So, by Monday, we are going to make another go at visiting Mazi Kanu, based on the tenor of the same order.
“Well, it can be very frustrating not being able to commune with your client. It complicates his defence and it strains constitutionality. This Form 48, as I mentioned earlier, is to tell them the consequences of their disobedience to this order. So, it’s a warning. It tells the person violating the order he could be held in contempt. The registrar of the court issues the Form.
“If that does not bring them to obedience, the next step is a Form 49 which is to show cause why they could not be committed to prison for disobeying the order. If they disregard a Form 49, it will pitch the Court against them. But in reality, it’s very tough for the courts to bring the DSS to answer for contempt. Even recent history bears that out. That’s the sad truth,” Ejimakor continued.
The IPOB leader’s lawyer also admitted that the Nigerian government has an ugly catalogue of disobeying court orders, adding the Nigerian people, the international community and the media have a role to play in getting justice for Kanu.
“In that case, the detainee suffers isolation, the lawyers and the courts are frustrated and justice is thrown to the dogs. The only thing left is to then appeal to the conscience of Nigerians, the international community and the free media.
“We are discussing this matter like it’s some kind of game but it is a very serious matter when a government is notorious for serially disobeying court orders. It should offend the conscience of our society and it should stop forthwith. In this very case, any day Mazi Kanu stays without visitation is an extra day in solitary confinement and I wonder what the DSS stands to gain from that,” Ejimakor added.