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Apex Igbo socio-cultural association, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has appointed a legal team to monitor the court proceedings in the ongoing trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
This was disclosed in a communique issued on Sunday after the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, held on Saturday in Enugu and signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chiedozie Alex Ogbonnia.
Kanu, who is facing an 11-count charge of treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms, among others, jumped bail in 2017 and left the country.
The former London estate agent disappeared in 2017 after being released on bail, only to re-emerge in Israel and then in the United Kingdom.
Kanu was extradited to Nigeria on Sunday, June 27 to face trial as announced by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, June 29 and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS, while the case was adjourned till July 26 and July 27.
But the federal government’s silence on circumstances surrounding his arrest has been unclear thus fuelling claims that the federal government ‘kidnapped’ the absconded IPOB leader from Kenya.
Speaking on the ongoing trial of Kanu, Mr Ogbonnia said in the statement that the trial of Kanu should be within the dictates of the law.
“At the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, held on Saturday, 10th day of July,2021 at Enugu, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide has observed with keen interest the recent re-arraignment and consequent trial of our son, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,” the statement read.
“That in as much as Ohanaeze Ndigbo is not averse to the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, we however submit that he should be tried within the ambit of the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and in line with global best practices.
“That as part of our avowed determination to ensure the fair trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu , we have constituted a legal team led by the National Legal Adviser of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide and eminent Igbo Leaders to monitor the legal proceedings, throughout the trial.”
The Igbo group further threw its weight behind the recent stance against open grazing by governors from the south Region.
“We strongly support the stand taken by the Southern Governors Forum on anti-open grazing, restructuring, rotation of the President of Nigeria to the South in 2023, and the proposed 5% share of the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB) for the host communities.
“We identify with the Igbo youths in their grievances with respect to Igbo marginalization, menace of the Fulani herdsmen, etc; however we do not support the use of any form of violence to redress the relative deprivation and prevailing inequality and injustice across the country.
“Ohanaeze therefore urge the youths to be law abiding and sheath their sword as the South East leaders and stakeholders address these our collective grievances through meaningful dialogue and negotiations.
“We therefore urge Ndigbo particularly the youths to take the ongoing voters’ registration exercise seriously, as this is the only means that guarantees effective participation in Nigerian politics and a sine qua non to achieving our goals and aspirations in the Nigeria project.”