By Nelson Ekujumi
The Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM) is worried and condemns in strong terms, the content and intent of the recently released press statement by the Ohaneze Ndigbo organization, calling on the Minister of justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) to respect his oath of office with regards to his latest application to the Abuja high Court to revoke the bail granted IPOB leader, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu on the grounds that he has flouted his bail conditions and so, should be committed to prison.
Without mincing words, the Ohaneze Ndigbo group statement is reckless, inciting and a blackmail, meant to cause public disaffection and intimidate the office of the Minister of justice and Attorney General of the Federation in the discharge of its constitutional functions, in particular and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in general.
For our understanding, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of justice represents the chief law officer of the country whose primary responsibility is to uphold the law via the enforcement of court orders and provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which must be obeyed and complied with, by both the government and the citizenry without fear or favour.
Calling on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of justice not to infringe on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and movement of a citizen because in the view of Ohaneze Ndigbo, that right has been infringed upon by the court through the bail conditions granted Nnamdi Kanu, is laughable, illogical and has no basis in law.
For the avoidance of doubt, it must be made absolutely clear that the proceedings or rulings of a court of law is not subject to the supervision or jurisdiction or interpretation of the office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
Infact, the office of the Attorney General and Minister of justice is duty bound by the constitution to ensure compliance with judgements of the courts and where there is suspected violations, it is duty bound to bring such to the notice of the court, to do the needful.
Also , if the Attorney General and Minister of justice is of the opinion that a judgement of a court is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution and or is a threat to public good, he is duty bound to challenge such by appealing to a higher court for redress in the public interest which is the reason for the existence of his office.
For the education of the leadership of Ohaneze Ndigbo, the bail conditions granted to Mr. Nnamdi Kanu in court was written in understandable English language and read to him and his counsel, of which he had the choice of either accepting or rejecting it. If both Mr. Kanu and his legal counsel had reasoned that the conditions were an infringement on his fundamental right, they were at liberty to reject it and bring such to the notice of the presiding judicial officer for variations, but they never did.
For Mr. Nnamdi Kanu to have accepted and fulfilled the bail conditions, meant that he was under obligations to comply with the conditions of which any violations must be brought to the notice of the court, which the Attorney General and Minister of justice has done in line with his oath of office.
To be this “concerned” with the objective of raising and inciting ethnic tension and thus undermining national security, one would have expected a responsible organization like Ohaneze Ndigbo which is quite aware of the bail conditions granted and fulfilled by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, to have counseled the young man on the consequences of flouting a court order, rather than resort to this embarrassing, intimidatory, provocative, inciting and blackmail statement.
For all we know, Ohaneze Ndigbo has the privilege and luxury of accessing legal advice on a platter of gold on the propriety or otherwise of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’s conduct in violating his bail conditions, rather than coming out now to intimidate a public officer and unfortunately, this has the tendency to impugn on the image of this respectable organization and portray it as aiding, abetting and encouraging lawlessness.
On the Kaduna state Governor and Inspector General of Police arrest order on the speakers of the Igbos must leave leave the northern region of Nigeria by October 1, 2017 ultimatum, but which fortunately has been withdrawn, one is disappointed that the Ohaneze Ndigbo displayed ignorance or is it mischief in pretending not to know that, such order was not a judicial one, but mere executive pronouncement which is outside the purview of the responsibility of the Attorney General and Minister of justice who is solely charged with enforcing the law, either of court judgements or provisions of the constitution.
As we look forward to Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’s day in court of which we expect justice, may we admonish Ohaneze Ndigbo to stop this provocation, blackmail and incitement of disaffection among Nigerians and against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but rather focus on offering legal support to the accused as he squares up against the Attorney General and Minister of justice application for committal to prison for flouting his bail conditions.
We hereby call on the Minister of justice and Attorney General of the Federation to remain focused, resolute and committed to exercising his constitutional functions in tandem with the dictates of the rule of law and refuse to be intimidated and deterred by threats and blackmail which is an exercise in futility.
Nelson Ekujumi is the Executive Chairman The Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate (CPPM)