Kanu’s judgement and the juxtaposition of jungle justice
I am not a lawyer, so whatever position I take here, would be from the table of a legal layman. But I would try also not be seen as a liar, by working with the facts, as evidenced from the scenes of events, or the records of the transmission of some happenings.
In doing this, I would argue based on my understanding of the word law, and the ambition of those that crafted the books of law, including the constitutions of countries.
The dictionary describes the law as the system of rules which a particular country or community recognizes as regulating the actions of its members, and which it may enforce by the imposition of penalties. It goes ahead to say, the law is a rule defining correct procedure or behaviour, including the behaviour in sport. A friend had also given me the meaning of law as common sense, sensibly applied. The dictionary describes the meaning of common sense as, good sense and sound judgement in practical matters.
On Thursday, 13/10/2022, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, discharged the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, of the 15-count terrorism charges brought against him by the federal government. In a unanimous decision, the appellate court found fault in the process through which Kanu was brought before the Federal High Court to answer to a 15-count terrorism charges, hence the decision to free him.
The court held that the 15-count charge preferred against Kanu did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before being unlawfully extradited to Nigeria in clear violation of international treaties. The court further held that the Federal Government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested, despite the grave allegations against him.
A quick search about Nnamdi Kanu on the Wikipedia says, Nnamdi Okwu Kanu is a British-Nigerian political activist who advocates for the secession and independence of Biafra from Nigeria. He is the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, which he founded in 2014.
In my effort to work with facts, with a view to seeing the extent to which they conform with the realities on ground, as well as the ambition of those who crafted the law, I would do an overview on the genesis of the Nigerian Civil War. According to the records, the war lasted from the 6th of July 1967, to the 15th of January 1970. It was a civil war fought between Nigeria and the Republic of Biafra, which was a secessionist state that declared its independence from Nigeria in 1967.
Nigeria was led by General Yakubu Gowon, while Biafra was led by late Lt. Colonel Chukwuemeka Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. The conflict resulted from political, economic, ethnic, cultural and religious tensions, which preceded Britain’s formal decolonization of Nigeria from 1960 to 1963. During the two and half years of the war, there were about 100,000 overall military casualties, while between 500,000 and 2 million Biafran civilians died of starvation.
From the foregone, one can easily see the simple repercussion of secession, or the action of withdrawing from the membership of a federation. Secession, which is the ambition of Nnamdi Kanu, is described in the dictionary as treachery, disloyalty or lese-majesty, all of which connote a disrespectful behaviour against one’s country.
If we go by the records of the transmission of some happenings in Nigeria, especially during the infamous END SARS riot, audio of Nnamdi Kanu had gone viral, directing his followers to unleash violence on anyone in uniform. He was heard in unmistakable language, directing the killing of people. And his orders were complied with in Lagos and the south east.
By definition, that act, conforms with the meaning of jungle justice. And the dictionary describes jungle justice as mob justice or lynching. It is a form of public extrajudicial killings which is directed on someone or some people against the law. When juxtaposed against the mission of Nnamdi Kanu, it would be right to call him a secessionist, an anarchist and the promoter of jungle justice, all of whom act in conflict with the provision of the law.
Yes, I’ve heard lawyers say, it is not within the province of the trial court to grant what is not sought, or contemplated by the parties. But if contemplated means thought of, then to say the learned judges did not see any reason, to belief secession, anarchy and the promotion of jungle justice were thought of, as being amongst the missions of Nnamdi Kanu, is akin to calling a spade with a different name.
If my memory is not rusty, I can recall the famous case of Alhaji Nafiu Rabiu and his late wife, wherein for the first time I heard the phrase, the balance of probabilities. Nafiu was jailed based on that phrase, which decided in favor of the party whose claims were presumed, more likely to be true.
However, like I said, I am not a lawyer. But if the law really means common sense sensibly applied, then no matter the technicalities, there is no way it can be implied that, a face can comfortably hide behind, and be obstructed from view, by any finger.
Although the Ministry of Justice had issued a statement in connection with the judgement, it is my hope that something good would be done quickly, to arrest a bad situation from going worse.
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