28 MARCH 2017
It is no longer news that the leader of IPOB worldwide Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is still in illegal detention today in Abuja because of the extra judicial pronouncements of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari the Fulani President of Nigeria on Wednesday the 30th of December, 2015 during his maiden Presidential Media Chat. To the shame of the judicial establishment in Nigeria and expression of utter disdain for the sanctity of the Constitution, President Buhari autocratically declared before a stunned civilised world that an 'accused' person that a court of law granted bail is undeserving to be freed despite the fact that such bail were granted by Courts of competent jurisdiction.
The order made by Justice Ademola of the Federal High Court to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally is still subsisting and has neither been appealed by Buhari's agents, vacated or set aside. What the Fulani Justice Binta Nyako have chosen to do in the ongoing trial of Nnamdi Kanu and Others, is to align herself with the dictates of her kinsman President Buhari who is not only from the same Katsina State as Mrs Binta Nyako but also an ardent Muslim and Sharia Law proponent. That is why Binta Nyako elected to invoke the principles of Sharia Law in a matter pending before a Common Law court. IPOB worldwide is implacably opposed to the adoption of elements of Sharia Law in the trial of our leader and other Biafrans charged alongside him.
Justice Binta Nyako must bear the following in mind if she is to continue presiding over this matter that has attracted so much international media attention:
“A Judge by the nature of his position and professional calling, is expected to be straightforward, upright, diligent, consistent and open in whatever he does in court and in any other place of human interaction and human endeavor that he happens to find himself. This is because his character as a Judge is public property. He is the cynosure of the entire adjudication in the court, and like Caesar’s wife of Ancient Rome, he is expected to live above board and above suspicion, and he must live above board and above suspicion, if the judicial process should not experience any reverse or suffer any detriment. A Judge should know that by the nature of his judicial functions, he is persistently and consistently on trial for any improper conduct immediately before, during and immediately after the trial of a case.” See Eriobunah v. Obiorah (1999) 8 NWLR (pt. 616) C.A. 622
We members of IPOB and the rest of the civilised world have been watching with keen interest the upsetting tendencies of Justice Binta Nyako to unconstitutionally import sharia law and arrogantly impose same on the defendants standing criminal trial before her at the Federal High Court where such law has no known place in judicial proceedings. The victims of this her unconstitutional misadventure are the Worldwide Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB for short ), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and his co-defendants who are standing trial before her on charges of treasonable felony among others. Justice Binta Nyako displayed the highest level of judicial indiscretion when she drew an analogy with the requirements of sharia law for women in purdah, while expressing her reasons for acceding to the supplication of the prosecutor to have the witnesses testify behind screens with a view to protecting their identities.
For purposes of straightening the records, there is freedom of religion inexterminably embedded in the Nigerian Constitution as eloquently consecrated by section 38(1). By fishing far afield into the prohibited province of the inapplicable sharia law, Justice Nyako goofed full time by struggling to assist the prosecutor’s case in defiance of the sound admonitions of the Nigerian Supreme Court in the case of Ndidi v. The State (2007) 5 S,C, 175 at 196 thus;
“….we should not forget that in criminal trials, particularly in capital offences, the trial court must arrive at its decision through a process of reasoning which is analytical and commands confidence. A judgment which sends a man to the gallows and awaits the hangman to execute him at any single minute, must be punctuated by a logical thinking based on a cogent and admissible evidence in which the facts leading to his conviction are clearly found and legal inference carefully drawn. It can hardly be allowed to stand if founded on scraggy reasoning or a perfunctory performance.”
As if Justice Muhammad of the Supreme Court had in mind the manner in which Justice Binta Nyako is currently handling Nnamdi Kanu’s trial when he wrote his judgment, he went further to add this instructive warning;
“The cardinal principle of trial in criminal cases is that the trial court must not be seen to appear to look for excuse to shore up the case of the prosecution to get a conviction anyhow. Such an attitude of ignoble practice only portrays the court as anything but impartial arbiter. It is reprehensible for any court to portray any attitude that shows tendency to get conviction at all cost for the prosecution. In that case, the court would have now turned itself into a prosecutor. A court of law or reasonable tribunal should be wary of such a practice.”
In summing up, we would like to take the liberty of this press release to remind Justice Nyako of that immortal counsel of the great Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning, in his classic, Family Story at page 162. Hear him;
“When a judge sits to try a case he is himself on trial before his fellow countrymen (gathered in the courtroom.) It is on his behavior that they will form their opinion of our system of justice. He must be robed in the scarlet of the Red Judge – so as to show that he represents the majesty of the law. He must be dignified – so as to earn the respect of all who appear before him. He must be alert – to follow all that goes on. He must be understanding to show that he is aware of the temptations that beset everyone. He must be merciful – so as to show that he too has the quality which ‘droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath’.”
One sincerely hopes that moving forward Justice Nyako would carry on with the trial in a manner wholly consistent with the best tradition of the judiciary under the Nigerian Constitution. She (Justice Nyako) should do well to imbibe the counsel of Fabiyi, J.C.A when he advised thus;
“Sobriety should be the first watch-word for anyone who, per chance, finds himself in the exalted position of a Judge. A judicial officer should not be talkative or loquacious… Above all, a judge should not be biased under any guise.” See Eriobunah v. Obiorah (1999) 8 NWLR (pt. 616) C.A. 622 at 646.
We choose to say no more on this until the determination of the court on the issue of secret trial slated for 6
Dr. Ikenna Chinaka
Mrs. Grace Ukpai