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Respect rule of law, release Nnamdi Kanu on health grounds, HURIWA tells Buhari



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A civil rights group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to keep to his word at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week and respect the rule of law in Nigeria.

HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, in a statement, said the President should order the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on bail based on his deteriorating health.

The group also warned that it will be very calamitous for the country should any unsavory incident happens to Kanu who has been illegally detained in the custody of the Department of State Services in Abuja without bail for over 14 months since he was allegedly kidnapped from Kenya.

HURIWA’s demanded for Kanu’s bail on health grounds followed an alarm raised on Thursday by the IPOB leader’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, that the DSS was patronising a substandard local chemist shop to buy drugs for Kanu, who was said to be suffering from excruciating pains occasioned by gastro-intestine disorder

Ejiofor also reportedly said the discovery was made during the court-ordered routine visit to Kanu in the custody of the secret police in Abuja, noting that the DSS aside that it failed to provide the requisite medical treatment that would address Kanu’s deteriorating health condition, also denied the IPOB leader access to his personal physician and wouldn’t allow Kanu’s team to purchase his drugs from standard pharmacists.

HURIWA’s Onwubiko, therefore, declared: “The odious report coming from Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s lead counsel about his client’s condition in the custody of the Department of State Services is disturbing and alarming altogether.

“There is the need for rule of law, an end to the crude and primitive treatment of detainees and the release of Kanu on health grounds to stave off the unprecedented consequences of anything happening to him in detention such as death given his near-messianic support base globally.

“President Muhammadu Buhari promised world leaders at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York that he would leave a legacy that respects and upholds constitutional democracy and the principle of rule of law. However, it is irreconcilable that the President has watched on, for years, how the rule of law is flagrantly so violated with impunity on the case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

“The President claimed that he has “worked to strengthen our democracy” in Nigeria when he appeared before world leaders on Wednesday in New York but he won’t respect free speech is a core tenet of constitutional democracy and which is the major offence the current government accuse Kanu of violating on social media.

“Of note, even the court in Benin Republic granted Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, bail on health grounds a few months ago. Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja cannot continue foot-dragging needlessly on the bail application of Kanu, going by presumption of innocence and his deteriorating health conditions which can get worse in the coming days if he is disallowed access to quality health facilities.

“Under Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), bail is a conditional right guaranteed and the judge should uphold this. It is under the jurisdiction of the court to grant Kanu bail and this is long overdue according to various Administration of Criminal Justice Laws applicable in the South and the Nigerian Criminal Procedure Code applicable in the North.

“In fact, section 35(6) of the 1999 constitution requires that a person who is arrested or detained be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time and be tried within a period of two months from the date of his arrest or detention or be released unconditionally or upon certain conditions to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date.

“The court should not be contravening the law because of ethnic biases and dictates of some ‘Ogas at the top’ who apparently have selfish and inhumane interest in seeing Kanu’s health deteriorate in DSS custody for the past 14 months. The rule of law must be adhered to if indeed Nigeria operates under democratic tenets as the President made the world to believe at UNGA 77th session in New York on Wednesday. For a country that grants amnesty to hardened Boko Haram and ISWAP members who have killed hundreds of Nigerians, Kanu’s bail on health grounds is long overdue. Who wants Nnamdi Kanu dead and who wants to destroy the Southeast of Nigeria?”

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