Nnamdi Kanu, Igboho: You’re wrong; Canada based Nigerian lawyer replies NBA VP
The vice President of the African Bar Association (North America), Kingsley Jesuorobo described the statement credited to the Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, John Aikpokpo-Martins that President Muhammadu Buhari is constitutionally bound to crush secessionists like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho as not proper.
Jesuorobo, who was also a former President, Canadian Association of Nigerian Lawyers in a statement said Aikpokpo-Martins got it all wrong, noting that it is not treasonable to call for dismemberment of Nigeria provided it is done peacefully.
He said, “in as much as I personally prefer Nigeria to remain as one, it is legally, logically and morally erroneous to deem calls or agitations for the dismemberment of the country to be inherently treasonable.
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He said if Mr. Aikpokpo’s offering were to be explored logically and contextually, it would criminalize any call for constitutional amendment; given that, apparently to Aikpokpo-Martins, the constitution is “inalterably sacrosanct.”
“It would mean that anyone who canvasses for change from the constitutional status quo is guilty of treason! His logic, when scrutinized, ensnares anyone who dares as much as to propose an amendment of the constitution, even when such a proposition is in line with the dictates of the constitution itself,” he added.
Jesuorobo described as defective the argument put up by Aikpokpo-Martins that “the president is constitutionally bound to crush” such “agitations”. He likened it to calling for extrajudicial action by the Federal Government against the citizens. He said every person is entitled to the right to fair hearing and presumed to be innocent.
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“I am unable to conclude this short rejoinder without addressing the aspect of Mr. Aikpokpo’s comments that justifies a denial of constitutional protection to separatists and/or that claims that ‘the President is constitutionally bound to crush’ such ‘agitations’ This line of reasoning is also defective. It is predicated on a flawed premise, namely, that anyone accused of constitutional infractions ought to be treated outside of constitutional confines.
“This, in essence, suggests Mr. Aikpokpo’s endorsement of extrajudicial actions on the part of the State purportedly in defence of the constitution. Nowhere in the Nigerian constitution is the right to fair hearing denied to anyone! Instead, the right to fair hearing is guaranteed for every person in line with the presumption of innocence of the accused,” Jesuorobo said.
He included that Aikpokpo-Martins’ article has done grave violence to the Nigerian Constitution, particularly, sections 33 and 34 thereof.
“In conclusion, it is safe and sound to say that Mr. Aikpokpo’s article, which he may have conceived as an offering in defence of the Nigerian constitution, unfortunately, ends up doing extreme violence to the intent, letter and spirit of the same constitution, particularly the provisions of sections 33 through 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic which guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms to every person in Nigeria,” he said.