Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has rejected the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to try Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, secretly.
The Federal High Court, during the week, introduced its new Practice Directions on the trial of terrorism-related cases in the country.
Trial of terrorism-related offences, such as that of Nnamdi Kanu, are to henceforth be conducted in camera.
Except where the Chief Judge of the Court grants permission, media coverage may be prohibited.
The Chief Judge of the Court, Justice John Terhemba Tsoho, in the exercise of his constitutional powers as enshrined in section 254 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and all other powers enabling him, made the Practice Directions.
HURIWA however warned that this move would likely escalate the security situation in the South East, adding that the Federal Government had adopted this measure because they know they have nothing against the IPOB leader.
In a statement signed by Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, its National Coordinator, HURIWA said, “Secret trial for the leader of the now proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) after he was abducted forcefully from Kenya by Nigeria’s secret services in collaboration with their Kenyan counterparts, after being subjected to horrendous ordeals and illegal rendition, which offends relevant international humanitarian laws, is unconstitutional, primitive, illegal and obnoxious.
“It is as if Nigeria is back to the days of military tribunal whereby citizens were simply chopped off the streets and made to face organised trial with a predetermined outcome.
“The decision on the Nnamdi Kanu’s case is unlawful and irregular. If the government believes it has a case against him, which is very doubtful, why is the government afraid of the light and has chosen to try him in the dark?
“This may escalate the security situation in the South-East because most people will see this as not being transparent, open and justifiably carried out.
“Whatever outcome from such a secret trial is ab initio null, void and of no moment.
“We in HURIWA reject this appalling demolition of judicial transparency by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration. This will adversely damage constitutional democracy.”
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