Vincent Obetta, the lawyer to the embattled Nnamdi Kanu, founder of Radio Biafra, has described the continued detention of the IPOB leader as illegal.
Obetta said the action had taken Nigeria back to the military era.
Speaking with Punch on Friday, Obetta said that the fact that a court order for Kanu’s unconditional release had been ignored by federal authorities brought back memories of a time when people were detained indefinitely.
He said, “We are getting into a reversal or repetition of 1984 where Decree 2 and 4 of 1984 was used to detain people indiscriminately. We are getting back to the era where the burden of proof does not lie with the prosecution anymore; the burden of proof lies with the accused.
“We are bringing back the era of the anachronistic laws that we jettisoned so I put it upon the Fourth Estate of the Realm to begin to say which is which.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had during his maiden Presidential Media chat on Wednesday said that Kanu and former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, could jump bail if released, hence the hesitation to release them.
Reacting to the president’s stand, Obetta said how Kanu came into the country was a non-issue as it wasn’t before the court, adding that there appeared to be a form of vendetta against his client.
He said, “We started with the charges of leading an unlawful society and all that. When we were able to make them to withdraw that one from the Magistrate court, they came up with the issue of terrorism and terrorism financing. We knocked it out; they came up with treason charges.
“Why I took you round this is that it is more like a vendetta to arrest a man for more than 120 days and you have not been able to decide on the particular offence you think he has committed. We were also shocked to hear that part of the reasons why he was being held was that he came into Nigeria without a passport.”
“My fear is for that man, who in the course of his profession or work falls into the hands of the state apparatus and then, relying on what the law says which is the Constitution, he picks a lawyer and goes to court and the lawyer secures a bail for him pending trial.