THE FULL TEXT OF IPOB LETTER TO THE UNITED NATIONS, US PRESIDENT, UK PRIME MINISTER, NORWAY, JAPAN, ISRAEL and Others
RE: Nnamdi Kanu & Indigenous People of Biafra (Before the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights) [Decision on Seizure and Provisional Measures]
The purpose of this Letter is two-fold. The first is to bring to your esteemed attention a recent Decision by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) with respect to the above-referenced matter. The second is to appeal to your good office and conscience to hold the Muhammadu Buhari regime in Nigeria to account in relation to this ruling by ACHR because of their long-established tradition of disobeying court orders, violation of treaty obligations and dreadful human rights abuses. We are of the firm belief that without adequate monitoring of the conduct of the Nigerian Government, they will continue to subject Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB to punitive extrajudicial measures in breach of their fundamental human rights as reaffirmed by the Africa Commission on Human Rights (ACHR) contained herein.
Another critical area of concern is the conduct of the Nigerian judiciary, whose duty it is to interpret, for domestic purposes, the rulings and judgments of institutions like the ACHR. To say that Nigeria has a dysfunctional judiciary will be a gross understatement. It is arguably the most corrupt judiciary in the world, at the beck and call of the executive. The Nigerian Government effectively administer the court system. They appoint and assign judges to cases. In almost all instances where the regime has an interest, they determine the outcome of every court process. Nigerian judges merely sit to rubber-stamp the decision of the government. Even in the rare occasion when judgment has gone against the government, getting the courts to enforce their own judgments has been almost impossible. No judge wants to be in the bad books of this Buhari regime.
Whereas, the details of the Decision are contained in the two documents attached to this Letter, please permit me – for further clarity – to provide a summary of the background and analysis of this matter. They are as follows:
1. The Complaint upon which the said Decision was rendered was brought before the ACHPR on behalf of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Nnamdi Kanu, in his capacity as the leader of IPOB.
2. We placed 5 (five) main issues before the ACHPR for determination. They are:
(I). The declaration by the Government of Nigeria that IPOB is a terrorist organization and its Proscription thereof.
(II). The deployment of soldiers to the five (5) States of southeastern Nigeria (the core base of IPOB) for the purposes of enforcing the declaration that IPOB is a terrorist organization; and the quantum extrajudicial killings that resulted from that and is continuing till date.
(III). The arrest, detention, and trial of IPOB members before and after the terrorist designation/proscription; and the continuation of those trials to this day.
(IV). The arrest and lengthy detention of Nnamdi Kanu (as IPOB leader); and the lethal military attacks against his person (while he was free on bail), his family, and members of IPOB in September 2017; and which attacks led to many deaths, woundings and military arrests and detentions of IPOB members, including the troubling fact that Nnamdi Kanu has not been seen or heard from since the said attacks.
(V). The continuing and menacing presence of armed soldiers at several checkpoints in the five (5) States of southeastern Nigeria which has created an atmosphere of fear that many more IPOB members (including Nnamdi Kanu – if he is alive) could be shot at sight pursuant to their having been declared terrorists.
3. Having considered the foregoing issues and the rest of the contents of the Complaint, the ACHPR – on March 8, 2018 – communicated its interim Decision to the undersigned Counsel and to the President of Nigeria, granting Nnamdi Kanu/IPOB’s request for ‘provisional measures’ requiring the Federal Government of Nigeria:
“Not to take any further action so as to avoid irreparable damage to the Victim, IPOB and its Members, pending the decision of the Commission on this Communication”.
4. The Commission also held that it has seized itself of jurisdiction over the Complaint; and found further “that the Complaint reveals prima facie violation of the African Charter”; and it requested the “Respondent State to report back on the implementation of the Provisional Measures granted within 15 (fifteen) days of receipt of this decision”.
5. Going by the previous antecedents of this Buhari regime and his total disregard for the rule of law, we are not hopeful that the President of Nigeria will faithfully and timely implement the measures requested by the Commission, hence the need for your intervention to ensure they do so.
We wish to draw your kind attention to the following which Nigerian courts have worryingly failed to acknowledge in all their rulings and judgments to date:
(I). This Decision of ACHPR is binding on Nigeria by virtue of (a)- Nigeria’s ratification of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights; and (b)- Nigeria’s domestication (or enactment) of the Charter as part of the Laws of Federation of Nigeria, to wit: the ‘African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and. Enforcement) Act, CAP A9, LFN 2004′, which in pertinent part provides that:
“As from the commencement of this Act, the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which are set out in the Schedule to this Act shall, subject as thereunder provided, have force of law in Nigeria and shall be given full recognition and effect and be applied by all authorities and persons exercising legislative, executive or judicial powers in Nigeria”.
(II). By virtue of this Decision, all criminal trials of IPOB members as they relate to the issues considered by the Commission (including that of Nnamdi Kanu) shall cease forthwith and thus shall be formally discontinued. Additional basis for discontinuance lies in the companion pronouncements by ACHPR that it has seized itself of (or assumed) jurisdiction; and the further determination that Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB, and its members have made a prima facie case of violations of the Charter by the Nigerian government.
(III). By the same virtue, all IPOB members currently being held in detention centers across Nigeria on IPOB-related charges, which are also the issues considered by the Commission, shall be released forthwith and their cases closed until such a time the ACHPR has rendered a final Decision on the Complaint.
(IV). By the same virtue, the Order of Proscription of IPOB and its designation as a terrorist organization should be lifted or suspended and its execution to date reversed, pending when the ACHPR has rendered final Decision on the Complaint.
(V). By the same virtue, there shall be no further arrests of IPOB members; there shall be immediate dismantling of all military checkpoints in the five (5) States of the southeast of Nigeria currently arrayed against IPOB members and other residents of southeast Nigeria.
(VI). The President of Nigeria shall issue a statement restoring the rights of IPOB members under the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, and assuring IPOB members of the commitment of the Government of Nigeria to no further violations of those rights as is called for by the kernel of the ACHPR Decision.
(VII). That in view of the overwhelming public interest in this matter and the undeniable fact that precious human lives and civil liberties are at stake, there is an abiding need for public monitoring of the implementation of the Provisional Measures the President of Nigeria is expected to take within the next fifteen (15) days.
6. In conclusion, while we thank you for the opportunity of sharing this landmark ACHPR Decision, we most respectfully request you to use your good offices to help assist or ensure that the Decision is faithfully and timely implemented by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Please accept the assurances of our highest esteem for your office and person.
HEAD OF DIRECTORATE OF STATE
Indigenous People of Biafra
Office of the President of the United States of America
British Prime Minister The Right Honorable Theresa May MP
United Nations Human Rights Council
The National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria
European Commission for Human Rights
US Department of State
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
Office of the Prime Minister of Israel
Parliament of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister of Japan
Office of the Prime Minister of Norway
Speaker of the Swedish Parliament (The Riksdag)