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UN Order: FG under pressure to release Kanu



• Nigeria risks diplomatic sanctions, say Muoma, Ejimakor

The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) is upbeat that its leader, Nnamdi Kanu would soon be a free man, going by the recent directive by the United Nations to the Nigerian Government.

Kanu, who is currently facing trial, has been in the detention facility of the Department of State Service (DSS) in Abuja, the nation’s capital for about 14 months after his interception and rendition from Kenya by the Nigeria authorities.

But the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, in its decision contained in opinion No. 25/22, has reportedly asked the Nigerian Government to release the separatist unconditionally and compensate him for the abuse and torture he has and continues to suffer.

Kanu’s international legal counsel, Mr Bruce Fein and Prof. Rachael Murray, who were engaged by his family as well as the IPOB leader’s special counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, initiated the efforts leading to the UN directive.

The family of the embattled IPOB leader also hired two top legal firms, which filed a kidnapping case against Nigeria in the United Kingdom.

Bindmans and Doughty Street Chambers, the law firms defending Kanu had said in a statement: “At the time of the transfer, Mr Kanu was not in possession of his British passport. The transfer by Nigerian authorities, without identification documents and with the aim of rendition to justice, amounts to extraordinary rendition and is unlawful under international law.”

Speaking on the latest development, Kanu’s special counsel, Aloy Ejimakor and Chairman of Igbo Lawyers Association (ILA), Chief Chuks Muoma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said Nigeria was bound to obey the UN directive. Muoma said it will be an international scandal if Nigeria refuses to obey the UN directive for Kanu’s release.

He further said the country might be sanctioned if it turns a deaf ear to the UN Human Rights body’s order stressing that it was dependent on whatever decision the body will recommend to its General Assembly for approval against Nigeria.

The former IPOB lawyer explained that a refusal will amount to disobeying the world body, to which Nigeria is a member, emphasizing that if one belongs to an organisation, he or she will abide by its rules and regulations.

“It will be international scandal to disobey a directive from such an organisation like the United Nations, so it has to carry out its membership obligations by obeying to release and pay adequate compensation to Kanu, as directed,” Muoma said.

It was learnt that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which rendered the opinion on Kanu as a quasi-judicial body that has the legal mandate of the United Nations to consider and adjudicate human rights petitions against member nations of the UN.

Flowing from the above, Ejimakor argued that failure of Nigeria to release Kanu will trigger a nasty diplomatic conflict with the UN that may convulse the country.

He explained: “Further, the opinion is legally binding on Nigeria because the decision is based primarily on human rights standards set by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“Additionally, Nigeria, in addition to ratifying the UN Charter, has also ratified other human rights instruments that require it to comply with opinions like this. Ratification is a means by which a nation makes itself subject to international laws and treaties. And by the provisions of Section 12 of Nigeria Constitution and a plethora of decisions by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, ratification makes Nigeria subject to whatever it ratified.

“It goes without saying therefore, that as a bonafide member of the United Nations, Nigeria is subject to decisions issuing from all UN bodies. Nigeria is thus duty-bound to implement this decision in its letters and spirit. And it is expected to do so promptly.”

Speaking further on whether the Nigerian Government has taken any actions and what the next line of action would be if the directive is ignored, Ejimakor said he believed that something was being done.

“Given that the decision called for the ‘immediate’ release of Kanu, I wager that the government is already giving it consideration. Nonetheless, if compliance doesn’t happen within a reasonable time, we will consider the many options we can employ to compel compliance.”

“It is never in contemplation that a responsible member of United Nations (such as Nigeria) will thumb its nose at the UN. But wherever such had happened in the past, even so rarely, it opened up a host of legal and diplomatic consequences. It not only brought the international legal and diplomatic order to bear aggressively but the domestic legal regime as well,” he stated.

Saturday Sun was informed that the Opinion, which was issued on July 20, 2022, was forwarded to the Governments of Nigeria and Kenya on July 22, while the advance copy was released to Kanu’s counsel the next day. (Saturday Sun)

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Ending Sit-at-home: Bishops Onah, Chukwuma, Enugu Town Unions back Mbah



Enugu State Governor Dr Peter Mbah

•  Call for Kanu’s release

•  It’s bondage, let’s free ourselves – Bishop Chukwuma

•  Let’s give new governments benefit of doubt – Bishop Onah

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, and the Enugu State Association of Presidents-General of Town Unions, have thrown their weights behind the efforts of the Enugu State government to end sit-at-home in the state starting from Monday, June 5, saying it is long overdue.

They equally expressed total support for Mbah’s call for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention, saying it is the right path to national healing and stability in the South East region.

Speaking to reporters after leading a prayer session for a smooth end to sit-at-home in Enugu State and the entire South East at the the Chapel of Redemption, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), on Sunday, Most Rev. Chukwuma, who also doubles as the Anglican Bishop of Enugu Enugu Diocese, appealed to the people to support the government’s move through compliance.

“Government has given directive. My advice and appeal is that they should comply so we can save the economy of Southeast.

“Now the Governor has said it is safe to come out; therefore people should come out to do their business, and be free and set ourselves free from this bondage. It is a bondage, and we must be set free from it”, he concluded.

Also, in his homily at the St. Theresa’s Cathedral Nsukka, Bishop Onah, while commending Dr. Mbah’s initiative to end the sit-at-home syndrome, noted that the suffering in the land was too much.

He, however, begged the people to give the new governors of the South East the benefit of doubt.

Bishop Onah traced the insecurity and restiveness in the region to the continuous detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and appealed to President Bola Tinubu to heed Mbah’s call for Kanu’s release.

“The suffering is too much. But, please, everybody should have mercy. Those that are angry should calm down. Many of us are angry, but we have to be careful how we express our anger or we may cause more problems.

“It’s in this spirit that I understand the initiative by some state governments in the South East, especially the newly inaugurated government in Enugu state, to try to restore normalcy in the South East.

“But I want to believe and I want to affirm that this initiative must of necessity include an increase in the effort to secure the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu from detention”.

On their part, the Presidents-General (PGs) of Enugu State Town Unions wondered why Enugu State should continue to be on lockdown every Monday whereas “both private and pubic offices in the capitals of other states of the South East region had since resumed businesses.”

They wondered why Enugu’s case should be different.

In a statement by the Coordinating PG, Barr. Paully Ezeh, the association said the loss of Mondays since September 2021 had resulted in untold hardships and caused incalculable economic losses in the state and South East.

“The governor’s promise to transform Enugu from a public sector economy to a private-sector driven economy; raise the state’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the present $4.4 billion to $30 billion in eight years, make Enugu one of the top three economies, restore public water supply in Enugu metropolis in 180 days, and eradicate poverty can’t happen if we continue to sit at home on Mondays. It presents our state to investors as restive, insecure, and unproductive place.

“The Association, therefore, appeals to both private and public institutions and people of Enugu to support the government’s efforts to restore full days of work and productivity in the state.

“We urge aggrieved persons and groups to take the opportunity of dialogue advanced by the Mbah administration and we equally join the Governor in his call for Nnamdi Kanu’s release to engender organic peace and national healing”, the Association concluded.

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New State lawmaker appoints 14 aides



Ondo lawmaker Chris Ayebusiwa
A first–time Ondo lawmaker Chris Ayebusiwa has announced the appointment of 14 aides.

Seven of the newly appointees are to work as legislative aides while seven others would work at the Ward level of the party.

Ayebusiwa was among the 26 lawmakers that took oath of office into the 10th Assembly at the weekend.

He said the appointments was to ensure smooth running of office.

Among those appointed were: Monday Akinsulere as Senior Legislative Aide; Femi Olawoye as Personal Assistant; Morayo Itiolu as Special Assistant Women & Girl Child Affairs; Kehinde Akinyemi as Special Assistant, Media & Advocacy; Joshua Akindoyo as Special Assistant, Youth & Mobilisation; Ayo Olowoselu as Special Assistant, Special Duties and Osedele Gbenga as Special Assistant, Party Affairs.

Others are: Adebayo Saheed, Obolo Morenike, Idowu Fasalejo, Simeon Adedeji, Atinuke Arikawe, Koya Mewaye and Mrs Ayebuola.

He urged the appointees to put communal interest above their personal comfort and advised them to work toward achieving improved status for the constituency.

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Gunmen kidnap UNIZIK student



Revd. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, abducted
A student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State who is also a Catholic Priest, Revd. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, has been abducted by gunmen.

The student, who was abducted over the weekend, was said to be returning home from school when the gunmen ambushed and whisked him away to an unknown destination.

It was also gathered that the victim is a clergyman working with the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi.

Announcing the victim’s abduction in a press statement, the Chancellor of the Catholic Diocese of Nnewi, Rev. Fr. Raphael Ezeogu identified the abducted priest as Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara.

He further called for insistent prayers to ensure the safety and immediate release of the abducted clergy.

“Our priest, Rev. Fr. Stanislaus Mbamara, a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, was kidnapped Friday evening, on his way from Awka to Nnewi.

“Let’s storm heaven with humble and insistent prayers for his quick release in sound health of mind and body. May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Help of Christians, pray with and for us,” he said.

Efforts to receive the reaction of the Police Public Relations in Anambra State, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, proved abortive, as his phone number was not connecting.

It would be recalled that another UNIZIK student, Sylvester Mercy Chinomso (Mesi Sylvia) of the of Parasitology and Entomology Department, was sometime ago abducted  by unknown gunmen.  She was  abducted along with her sister.

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