Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyers write Malami, Foreign Affairs ministry, make demands

The legal team of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu led by Aloy Ejimakor, has written to the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.

The team is demanding Kanu’s unconditionally release in line with the recommendations of the United Nations

Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

They reminded Malami of the need to accord Kanu an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations for his continued unlawful detention.

The letter was addressed to Malami and the Minister of Foreign Affairs was signed by Chukwuma-Machukwu, and Ejimakor.

The letter reads partly: “As you must have noted, the Opinion demanded the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately and unconditionally release our client; Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and accord him an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations for his continued unlawful detention.

“The Working Group requests the source and the Government to provide the above- mentioned information within six months of the date of transmission of the present opinion. However, the Working Group reserves the right to take its own action in follow-up to the opinion if new concerns in relation to the case are brought to its attention. Such action would enable the Working Group to inform the Human Rights Council of progress made in implementing its recommendations, as well as any failure to take action”. All emphasis (italic, bold underlining) ours.

“Your Excellency, we are sending this demand Letter to you because we believe that the subject matter falls under the jurisdiction of the Foreign Relations Ministry of Nigeria, as it is the duty of the Ministry to, among other things, ensure that Nigeria complies with her obligations under international law. Thus, in your considerations of the subject matter of this Letter, we respectfully invite you to be guided by the following:

“The Working Group, which is an integral part of the United Nations Human Rights Council, is a quasi-judicial body that has the legal mandate of the United Nations to adjudicate human rights petitions brought against member nations of the United Nations.

“The Opinion of the Working Group is legally binding on Nigeria because it is based primarily on Universal Human Rights standards set by Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 , The Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, 1988, The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, 1992, The Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, 1989; all to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“Some of the above human rights instruments were mentioned in the Opinion as having guided the Working Group in reaching this decision. To be sure, ratification is a means by which a nation renders itself subject to international laws and treaties. And by virtue of Section 12 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria {as amended} and a plethora of decisions by the Supreme Court of Nigeria {see; Abacha v Fawehinmi [2000] 6 NWLR Part 660 p 228}, ratification makes Nigeria subject to and bound by whatever treaties, principles, protocols, etc that it ratified and domesticated.

“Thus, Nigeria’s Domestication of Article 6 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights {which includes Article 6 that guarantees the Right against unlawful detention. This Article is as well very similar to Article 9(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights} has made Nigeria bound by it and in extension, bound by the Opinion of the Working Group which it was founded on.

“Furthermore the International Court of Justice in its dictum in the Hostages in Tehran case, ICJ Reports 1980, p. 42, para. 91 held:

“wrongfully to deprive human beings of their freedom and to subject them to physical constraint in conditions of hardship is in itself incompatible with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, as well as with the fundamental principles enunciated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”

“It thus follows that, notwithstanding that a State may not have ratified or otherwise adhered to any of the preceding human rights treaties, it is nonetheless bound by other legal sources to ensure a person’s right to respect for his or her liberty and security.

“That Kenya has not taken up a complaint against Nigeria for kidnapping a British citizen in her sovereign State cannot in law be an alibi for Nigeria as to avoid its Rule of Law obligations. The case of United States v. Toscanino (also cited in the Opinion) emphatically points out that a violation of international law is not merely a political matter to be settled through diplomatic channels by the states involved, but can also be relied upon by the accused in the domestic courts. see; See State v. Brewster (1835), 7 Vt. 118; United States v . Unverzagt (1924), 299 F. 1015 (D.C .), (1919-42)

“To this effect, even when Nigeria denies being a signatory to or ratifying some of the instruments as listed above which the Working Group relied on, the International Court of Justice has already set the precedent that even States that did not ratify these Documents will still be bound by them.

“As a bonafide member of the United Nations Organisation, Nigeria is subject to Decisions cum Opinions issued from all the United Nations bodies. Thus, it is our firm position that Nigeria is legally bound to implement this well founded and universally respected Opinion in its fullness of letters and spirit. And it is expected to do so promptly.

“The comity of Nations cannot allow Nigeria to pick and choose benefits from international Covenants and Conventions to revile on its duties and obligations accruing from the said international Covenants and Conventions. For her benefit, Nigeria followed through with her claims over Bakassi in the International Court of Justice.

“How did we come to this level? In fact, we must reiterate that impunity and violence are sure signposts of misgovernance and are never allowed in the comity of sovereign nations where intelligence, higher thoughts and diplomacy are the only life wires of good governance and mutual international relationships with other nations.

“This Nigeria cannot afford to squander. It is an opportunity to explore a more reconciliatory path to resolving the Biafra question.

“In view of all the foregoing, we most respectfully ask you to bring your good Office to bear on the Government of Nigeria to unconditionally release our Client, Nnamdi Kanu within a reasonable time after the receipt of this letter.”

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