If Nigeria is not a banana Republic, why is Nnamdi Kanu still behind bars despite a clear order for his release? Many months after an Appeal Court judgement provided the leeway for Nigerian authorities to walk the talk as ones desirous of respecting Nigeria’s diversity by releasing Nnamdi Kanu and seeking political solutions to the problems besieging the South East region and parts of the South-South, the Nigerian federal government is still adamant and hell-bent on keeping Kanu incarcerated against all voices of reason.
It is without any iota of doubt that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra is now being held hostage by some order of an official of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government which is intent ?4on settling a private score. Every pointer as far as the case is concerned simply indicates that the whole situation is now ideological and personal. The honest truth is that Kanu is currently being held on the orders of the Attorney General of Nigeria, Mr. Abubakar Malami because he thinks he can, in fact without consequences.
It is safe to conclude that Kanu’s continued detention is not by an order of the courts, it is illegitimate hostage-taking based on the whims and caprices of a powerful figure of the Buhari administration. This is plainly a case of taking the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation too far and even Malami himself is fully aware of this.
One thing that must be established here is that Malami probably does not know that he risks bringing down the entire edifice on which the rule of law is built through his actions. When the Attorney General who is supposed to be the presumptive custodian of Law in Nigeria engages in hostage-taking, in the name of the Federal Government, using some obscure detention rule, and out of spite for his victim it surely signifies that the country is headed for the rocks.
Nnamdi Kanu was freed by a Nigerian court 5 months ago and till date, he is yet to regain his freedom. In a clear judgment of the Court of Appeal, the Federal Government lost a case in which it tried Kanu as a terrorist. Many will recall that in that landmark decision, a panel of the court boldly and unambiguously told the Attorney General that Mr. Kanu has no case to answer. It fully discharged Kanu from the ruling of a lower court.
To be succinct, Appeal Court ruled that; ‘In view of the fact that the trial court lacks jurisdiction to hear this case because the process of extradition of the appellant from Kenya to Nigeria was unlawful since the due process was not followed, this appeal succeeds’. The words here were as clear as a crystal. Why then is the federal government flouting the order with impunity?
Just as any quota system-legal practitioner will do, Mr. Abubakar} Malami simply defied the orders of the court, and he has continued to detain Nnamdi Kanu on very washy grounds without a basis in the laws of the land. Malami has continued to do this, armed with the knowledge that what he is doing is a very serious abuse of his powers as the Attorney General of the Federation.
It must be expressly stated that Nigeria as presently constituted is not under any emergency rule, and the National Assembly has not yet granted, or conferred any extraordinary powers on the Attorney General to detain a citizen of Nigeria under any guise, or presumption, including the presumption of law. What one can deduce from this case as it now stands is that Abubakar Malami, seemingly with the full backing of the President, ordered the kidnap, rendition, and incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu.
At this point, it is imperative that someone gets to remind President Buhari that his Attorney General has actually turned Nigeria into a terrorist state by his actions! The big question is, can Nigeria afford the image of a terrorist state globally? Can Nigeria afford to be a country without laws or due process? It is evident that many people in the Buhari administration clearly do not understand that this blatant disregard for the rule of law drives away investors. They obviously don’t understand that stanches the flow of visitors and tourists and hurts the economy and by extension, the generality of Nigerians.
The constant abuse of power and positions of authority actually humiliates Nigeria. It limits the bounds of the kind of international amity which Nigerians can enjoy as a free and democratic state. It distorts the Nigerian laws as enshrined in its crooked constitution. Disregarding the rule of law provokes the possibility of radical defiance by a large segment of the population who would no longer trust the institutions of law because of its selective application. Buhari and Malami must be made to understand this very clearly.
Under Malami’s watch as Attorney General of the federation, Nigeria has broken so many laws against the general interest of the country, and it must be brought to Malami’s notice that while Buhari might enjoy some immunity even after office, he, the Attorney General, has no such privileges, and there is no statute of limitations to kidnaping and hostage-taking using the resources of the state under his care. Malami must be stopped from using the office of the AGF to settle personal ideological scores as he currently does by detaining Nnamdi Kanu even though the courts have ruled to the contrary.
But Malami should watch his own back because what he uses today to oppress Nnamdi Kanu might be deployed against him tomorrow to force him to account for his serial misuse of the law under his watch, and nothing can protect him from this. Wise men have long known that power is transient. And this is why the balance of justice must be kept at all times.
Today, Mr. Malami holds Nnamdi Kanu hostage using the privileges of his office. Next year it might be Malami held in the stockade.
Recently, Kanu’s lawyer and some members of his family reported that even the DSS in whose detention facility Kanu is kept on the orders of Malami is starving him. They feed him once a day. The DSS complained to Kanu’s Attorney that they have no money to feed their prisoner. This is nothing but an unconscionable act that must be condemned by all people of good conscience.
The lawyer also reported all kinds of torture and other inhuman and humiliating conditions meted out to Mr. Kanu by the DSS. They had to resort to crowdfunding to feed the IPOB leader. The Attorney General and his goons are not only keeping Mr. Kanu against the express orders of the Nigerian courts, they are now attempting to starve him to death. This is unconscionable.
So, the question is, why is Malami keeping Nnamdi Kanu by force rather than by law? Why is he intent on murdering him while held hostage using starvation? Why is he using the power of the Attorney General to hold Kanu hostage in the first place, even as the courts to all intents and purposes have freed him? Malami must be pressured to release Nnamdi Kanu. All available international channels must be explored to force him to obey the law courts. Nigeria is not a Banana republic and as such, should not be allowed to descend to anarchy because of one man’s ego and foolishness. Free Nnamdi Kanu now!