A Civil Society group, Concerned Nigerians, has said the ruling of an Abuja Federal High Court to conduct a secret trial for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, is not in the interest of Nigeria’s national security.
The group maintained that the secret trial of the IPOB leader will violate the “rights and freedoms of the Nigerian people.”
The group made the statement while announcing its planned protest against the secret trial of Kanu on Friday in Abuja.
In a statement signed by the convener of the group, Deji Adeyanju and its Secretary, Dr. John Danfulani, the group disclosed that the march will begin at the Unity Fountain, Abuja at about 9am.
The statement reads, “We invite the general public and members of the press to our peaceful procession to protest the attempts to conduct the trial of detained Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu, in secret. The procession will begin at the Unity Fountain on Friday April 21st, 2017 by 0900am.
“This procession has become necessary in the light of the FGN’s continued insistence to conduct the trial in secret. It is our firm belief that a secret trial in such a high profile matter does not serve the interests of the course of justice or Nigeria’s national security interests.
“Furthermore, Sections 36(3) and 36(6)(d) guarantee the right to a public trial and to examine all witnesses called by the prosecution to all Nigerians citizens.
“These attempts to try Nnamdi Kanu in secret not only potentially violate these rights but also constitute a precursor to the erosion of the rights and freedoms of the Nigerian people.
“In the build up to this procession, we have held a meeting with a security team comprising the State Security Services (SSS), the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Abuja Command of the Nigerian Police Force and representatives of the Nigerian Army.
“During this meeting, we reiterated our intention to conduct a peaceful procession in the manner of all our previous processions. We also reiterated our intention to exercise our right to peaceful and lawful assembly as guaranteed by the Constitution.
“We are well aware of the subtle and not so subtle threats made at this meeting. However, we refuse to be intimidated by them. In this wise, our protest will go on as planned.
“We urge all Nigerians who plan to attend to be peaceful and law abiding during the procession.
Recall that the Justice Binta Nyako-led Court had fixed April 25 to deliver ruling on whether to continue with its earlier ruling of Kanu being tried in secret or not.
Kanu alongside Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi are currently standing trial on criminal charges before the Justice Nyako-led court.