The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) worldwide, under the Supreme leadership of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is bringing to the awareness of the civilised world, the unjustified secret trial of it’s members held extra-judicially in prison custody for close to three years now. The presiding judge of an Abuja-based Federal High Court, Justice Binta Nyako has finally thrown judicial professionalism to the winds by forcibly imposing a secret trial on detained Biafran freedom agitators, contrary to all known relevant, common and civil laws of Nigeria as the case resumed on Thursday 22nd March, 2018. It Could be recalled that in 2017, Justice Binta Nyako strongly insisted that all the legal counsels representing the accused persons (IPOB members), should go and be tutored on the rudiments of Sharia (Islamic) pattern of secret trial so that they will be fully prepared on their clients’ defense.
True to her assertions, the judge really brought her employer’s interest to bear, as on the 22nd of March 2018, the secret trial of these non-muslims (Biafrans), truly commenced. Let it be known to the global community that the prosecuting counsel, Shaibu Labaran acting to the Nigerian government’s instructions, brought into the court room, a masked witness. The masqueraded witness who was properly shielded to beat recognition, and identified as Mr. A.B, got in to testify against Bright Chimezie who supposedly ought to have been released albeit unconditionally, as ruled earlier by Justice Ifeoma Ojukwu of the Nigerian Federal High Court, Uyo Division, which was defiantly disobeyed by the Department of Security Services (DSS), his captors. Biafrans all over the world condemn in it’s entirety, this travesty of justice embedded in this imposed secret trial against members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
It is clear however, that neither the IPOB members nor their defense counsels can truncate the proposal of secret trial as designed by the presiding judge as against it’s open rejection by the defense lawyers. It was because of this evil arrangement by the Nigerian government, that necessitated the appointment of Justice Binta Nyako. She was ordered never to allow any media documentation of the proceedings, thereby censoring every information from the world. The season has dawned for the global community to arise and defend the rights of these oppressed Biafrans. It is pertinent to know that this secret trial that just commenced, has no place in the Nigerian common and civil laws. It can only be found most probably in Sharia legal administration which is totally not binding on everyone resident in the country but only on Muslims. It is not traceable in the Nigerian common and civil law that a masquerade should come to the court and testify against a defendant.
How then can a trial judge read, study and understand the followings, from a masqueraded and shielded witness?
(1) The body language of a masked witness which is an essential factor of witnessing in a court of law.
(2). The eye contact of the masked witness
(3) The composure of the witness during his testimony which is a veritable tool for cross examination by the defense counsel(s).
These amongst other factors are essential reasons why justice can never be dispensed with in a secret trial. The civilised world must unanimously rise up and say an emphatic “No” to this grave injustice being carried out against the Biafran people by the Nigerian government. The demented, masqueraded witness only struggled to present alleged importation of radio transmitter, as an evidence of conspiracy for committing treasonable felony, the said offence they (the Biafrans) are charged with. The international community is hereby put on notice as there exists no relationship between conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and importation of such an equipment as a radio transmitter. In the interest of justice therefore, the Nigerian government must have to be compelled to accord the rights of these persecuted Biafrans due respect, by standing down the kangaroo (secret) trial. It is only in a country like Nigeria that claims to be practicing democracy and an affiliate member of the African Union and United Nations, that customary laws in amongst various indigenous populations around the world, are disobeyed. In other countries, a witness testifying against an accused must be seen and known by the accused and the defense counsels, to avert miscarriage of justice.
What then happens in the so-called government (masked) witness is a foreigner?. How can the accused deny or confirm such a person? The world must not wait until injustice metamorphoses into anarchy and constitutional crises before wading into the matter. The people of Biafra the world over, have remained calm in the face of various degrees of provocation and injustice for global community to intervene. The Nigerian government and her jaundiced media outlets have for this long, taken the maturity and civility of Biafrans for granted. Now is the time to call a spade a spade and avert yet another devastating scenario in the West African sub-region.