Sunday, 15 November 2015

Open Letter: The Return Of State Terrorism In Nigeria: Continued Extra Judicial Detention Of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu As A Case-Study (1)


Ref: Intersociety/SE/CSOs/01/11/015/Inter-Community/UN

1. The United Nations Secretary General
The UN Special Representative in Nigeria
The UN House, 617/618 Diplomatic Zone
Central Business District, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria

 2. The Apostolic Nuncio (Pope’s Ambassador to Nigeria)
Vatican Apostolic Nunciature in Nigeria
Pope John Paul Crescent, Maitama
FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

 3. The United States Ambassador to Nigeria
Embassy of the United States, Plot 1075 Diplomatic Drive
Central District Area, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

4. The Head, Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria & ECOWAS
Europe House, 21st Crescent, Off Constitution Avenue
Central Business District, Garki, Abuja, Nigeria

5. The British High Commissioner to Nigeria
The British High Commission, 11, Torrrens Street, Off Mississippi Street
Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

 6. The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Nigeria
Embassy of Germany, 9, Lake Maracaibo Close
Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

 7. The Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria
The Canadian High Commission
 15, Bobo Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

8. The Ambassador of the Republic of France to Nigeria
The Embassy of France, 7, Udi Hills Street
Off Aso Drive, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

9. The Brazilian Ambassador to Nigeria
Brazilian Embassy, 324, Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District, Garki, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

10. The Japanese Ambassador to Nigeria
Embassy of Japan, No. 9 Bobo Street
Off Gana Street, Maitama District
Abuja, FCT, Nigeria

11. The Australian High Commissioner to Nigeria
The Australian High Commission, Fifth Floor, Auckland Center
48, Aguiyi Ironsi Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

 12. The Indian High Commissioner to Nigeria
The High Commission of India, 15, Rio Negro Close
Off Yedseram Street, Maitama, FCT, Abuja, Nigeria

 Your Excellencies,

The Return Of State Terrorism In Nigeria: Continued Extra Judicial Detention Of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu As A Case-Study (1)

About us: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law is a leading nongovernmental rights organization in Nigeria advocating for the  advancement of civil liberties & rule of law, democracy & good governance and public security & safety. Intersociety was incorporated in 2008 in Nigeria and is based in Onitsha, Southeast Nigeria.

 This letter of ours (Intersociety) to Your Excellencies is also supported by the Coalition of Southeast (Nigeria) based Human Rights Organizations, comprising the Anambra State Branch of Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy, Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC), Southeast Good Governance Forum, Forum for Equity, Justice & Defense of Human Rights, Society Advocacy Watch Project, Anambra Human Rights Forum and PADDI Foundation.

 Background Information: Citizen Nnamdi Kanu is a holder of Nigerian and British citizenship and resident of the United Kingdom. He operates a UK based self determination mass communication outfit called Radio Biafra London (RBL) and chairs a sister mass group called Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); which membership cuts across the two oil rich and politically strategic South-south and Southeast zones of Nigeria, comprising eleven States of Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo, Anambra, Imo, Enugu, Abia and Ebonyi with estimated combined population of over 60million people. The two geopolitical zones and their eleven States are populated by Igbos, Ijaws, Ibibios, Urhobos, Itsekiris and other ethnic nationalities.

 IPOB has intimidating followership running into millions; which cut across all the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria and countries across the world including Your Excellencies’ countries. Nigeria, with over 250 ethnic nationalities dominated by Igbo, Hausa-Fulani and Yoruba ethnic nationalities has steadily been gripped by sustained triggers of a divided society such as ethnic divisions, religious fundamentalism, political segregation and exclusion, ethnocentrism, State terrorism, nepotism and favoritism, political and administrative dominance, greed and corruption, abuse of office and disrespect for human rights and rule of law.

The Nigeria’s hate politics and violence has been age-long, leading to its bloody civil war of 1967-1970 in which over two million citizens mostly citizens of the old Biafra (the agitating groups) were slaughtered. There are at least ten major bloody ethno-religious disturbances that had hit the country from 1980 till date, leading to the death of tens of thousands of citizens of  Southern Nigeria origin particularly Igbos resident in the northern part of the country as well as destruction of their properties worth tens of billions of naira.  The promotion, aiding and abetting of these unnatural security threats and unsafe conditions by past and present federal presidencies in Nigeria have resulted to entrenched structural imbalances, injustices and violence; leading to increased agitation for right to self determination. The agitation became pronounced immediately after Retired Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari was sworn in as Nigeria’s sixth civilian President at the end of May 2015.

 It also is very important to inform Your Excellencies that the increase in agitation for right to self determination under the present Buhari administration is not on account of his ethnic background, but strictly because of his re-introduced policies of political exclusion and segregation; leading to near-total marginalization of the Southeast and South-south zones in most of his political appointments and political office compositions. Other reasons for the increased agitation for self determination include: promotion of policies of political vendetta, ethno-political primordialism and excessive deployment and use of the country’s secret police for State terrorism as well as gross disrespect for human rights, rule of law and judicial pronouncements and independence.

The President’s divisive policies are directly linked to his several negative public comments against the people of the Southeast and the South-south zones who did not vote massively for his party and candidacy in the March 2015 Presidential Poll. He had severally been reported by local and foreign media to have vowed to run his government (i.e. political appointments, political office composition, infrastructural development and allocation of federal fiscal and material resources) on account of percentage of votes received from each geopolitical zone and we have severally cautioned him publicly too on dangers inherent in conceiving and running such divisive government in a pluralistic and multicultural society like Nigeria.

 Citizen Nnamdi Kanu’s ordeal in the hands of Government of Nigeria: He was arrested by the country’s secret police called Department of State Security Service (DSS or SSS) on 14th October 2015 at the Golden Tulip Essential Hotel, Ikeja in Lagos State, Southwest Nigeria, hours after his arrival from the UK and was taken to Abuja and detained at its dudgeon in the Federal Capital Territory, North-central Nigeria. He was charged before the Abuja Municipal Magistrate Court, located at Wuse Zone 11 on 19th October 2015. This is after he had been held without trial for five days. The criminal charges slammed on him are: Criminal Conspiracy, Managing & Belonging to Unlawful Society and Criminal Intimidation contrary to Sections 97, 97b and 397 of the Penal Code (applicable in Northern Nigeria). See through the link below his lawyer’s update:

 On account of the fact that the charges preferred against him are within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Court and constitute bailable offenses (misdemeanor), Citizen Kanu was granted bail with hash conditions of N10, 000,000 (ten million naira only) with one surety of grade level 16 in like sum and must be an owner of a landed property with an original Certificate of Occupancy, within the Federal Capital Territory and for such landed property to be verified by the Prosecution from the State Security Service or DSS.

 The Magistrate Court further fixed 18th of November 2015 as trial date and ordered that he should be kept in prison custody pending fulfillment of his bail conditions. His bail conditions were judicially fulfilled on 20th October 2015.  But sadly, he has remained in the DSS captivity till date; a period of 24 days. The trial Magistrate further made three consequential orders (1 Bail, 2 Production of Citizen Nnamdi Kanu before the Magistrate Court (twice), and 3 Transfer of Citizen Kanu to prison custody) against the DSS, and all the three court orders were flouted with reckless abandon.

 Position of Nigeria’s Criminal Justice Administration: As Your Excellencies may know, Nigeria’s criminal offenses are commonly defined and classified by three sentencing categories involving simple offenses (maximum of six months jail term), misdemeanor (maximum of three years jail term) and felonious offenses (maximum of capital punishment). Magistrate Courts and their equivalents are statutorily forbidden from trying criminal offenses involving capital punishment and other higher sentencing (i.e. unlawful possession of firearms, rape, manslaughter, terrorism, etc). These are strictly left in the hands of Federal and State High Courts. Nigeria also operates a dual criminal code of Penal Code (for northern Nigeria) and Criminal Code (for southern Nigeria). Penal Code is a mixture of Islamic and orthodox criminal laws.

 The two criminal codes are operated alongside their procedural laws (formerly Criminal Procedural Act and Criminal Procedural Code: now renamed Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015). There are also various criminal laws of the States cut across the 36 States in the country. All of these criminal codes, laws and their procedures are subject to the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.  Also, by virtue of Section 315 of the country’s Constitution, the referenced criminal codes, laws and procedures are made subsidiary laws to the 1999 Constitution.

 Further, Section 1 (3) of the 1999 Constitution states: “if any other law is inconsistent with the provisions of this Constitution, this Constitution shall prevail and that other law shall to the extent of its inconsistency be void”. Section 1 (1) of the same Constitution further states: “this Constitution is supreme and its provisions shall have binding force on all authorities and persons throughout the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. It is important to further recall Your Excellencies that President Muhammadu Buhari had on 29th May 2015 sworn by the same Constitution to “abide by, uphold, protect and enforce its provisions including its fundamental human rights charter at all times”.

 Nigeria’s International Treaty Obligations: Nigeria is a leading member of the United Nations and the African Union and had signed, ratified and domesticated (as case may be) relevant and important international human rights and regional treaties particularly those that have binding or legal force on all authorities and persons. Among them are the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1976 (year of entry into force) and the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (ACHPR) of 1981.

 While Nigeria ratified the ICCPR in 1993, it had earlier in 1983 signed, ratified and domesticated the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights (ACHPR) (presently cited as the African Charter on Human & Peoples Rights Ratification & Enforcement Act of 2004). The municipal applicability and enforcement of the ACHPR had also been judicially reviewed and certified by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Abacha and Others v Fawehinmi (2001) AHRLR 172 (NgSC 2000), which ruled that ACHPR is (domestically) justiciable or enforceable, with its status higher than ordinary legislation, but lower than the Constitution. This followed its earlier domestication by the Second Republic National Assembly of Nigeria in 1983 (in accordance with Section 12 of the present 1999 Constitution).

Yours Faithfully,

For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law

Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons), Criminology & Security Studies

Board Chairman

+2348174090052 (office),

Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department

Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program

Supported By: Coalition of the Southeast based Human Rights Organizations:

1. Comrade Aloysius Attah (+2348035090548)

For: Anambra State Branch of the Civil Liberties Organization

2. Comrade Peter Onyegiri (+2347036892777)

For: Center for Human Rights & Peace Advocacy

3. Comrade Samuel Njoku (+2348039444628)

For: Human Rights Club (a project of LRRDC)

4. Comrade Justus Uche Ijeoma(+2348037114869)

For: Forum for Justice, Equity & Defense of Human Rights

5. Comrade Chike Umeh ( +2348064869601)

For: Society Advocacy Watch Project

6. Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq. (+2348034186332)

For: Anambra Human Rights Forum

7. Comrade Alex Olisa(+2348034090410)

For: Southeast Good Governance Forum

8. Eze Eluchie, Esq. (+2348175177880)

For: PADDI Foundation


1. The Chairman of the Board of the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja, Nigeria

2. Chief Justice of Nigeria, Supreme Court Headquarters, Abuja, Nigeria

3. The National Security Adviser to the President, NSA Office, Abuja, Nigeria

4. The Attorney General of the Federation & Minister for Justice, AGF Office, Abuja, Nigeria

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