- The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has called on Justice Binta Nyako to guard her utterances in the ongoing trial of its leader Nnamdi Kanu
- IPOB said Justice Nyako must be mindful of her remark while presiding on Kanu's matter if she must continue with it
- The group said Justice Nyako displayed the highest level of judicial indiscretion when she referred to an analogy on the requirements of sharia law
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has called on Justice Binta Nyako to guard her utterances in the ongoing trial of its leader Nnamdi Kanu.
The group in a statement signed by its new spokespersons Ikenna Chinaka and Grace Ukpai said Nyako has aligned herself with the dictates of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Legit.ng gathered that the new spokespersons will replace Emma Nmezu and Clifford Iroanya while Emma Powerful remains the media and publicity secretary.
However, the group in its statement said Justice Nyako must be mindful of her remark while presiding on Kanu's matter if she must continue with the matter.
Justice Nyako had at the last sitting at the Federal High Court made reference to sharia law.
Nyako in her an analogy on the requirements of sharia law for women in purdah tried to explain why witnesses must be protected during the course of the trial.
But IPOB said Justice Nyako displayed the highest level of judicial indiscretion when she referred to such requirements of Sharia in a Federal High Court.
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"That is why Binta Nyako elected to invoke the principles of Sharia Law in a matter pending before a Common Law court. IPOB worldwide is implacably opposed to the adoption of elements of Sharia Law in the trial of our leader and other Biafrans charged alongside him," IPOB said.
Justice Binta Nyako must bear the following in mind if she is to continue presiding over this matter that has attracted so much international media attention:
“A Judge by the nature of his or her position and professional calling, is expected to be straightforward, upright, diligent, consistent and open in whatever he or she does in court and in any other place of human interaction and human endeavor that he happens to find himself. This is because his or her character as a Judge is public property," the group said.
IPOB said: "He or she is the cynosure of the entire adjudication in the court, and like Caesar’s wife of Ancient Rome, he is expected to live above board and above suspicion, and he must live above board and above suspicion, if the judicial process should not experience any reverse or suffer any detriment. A Judge should know that by the nature of his or her judicial functions, he or she is persistently and consistently on trial for any improper conduct immediately before, during and immediately after the trial of a case.” See Eriobunah v. Obiorah (1999) 8 NWLR (pt. 616) C.A. 622.
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Chinaka further added that the members of the IPOB have been watching as event turns in the trial of its leader and will not take lightly, the tendencies by Justice Nyako to impose sharia law on the defendants standing trial before the Federal High Court where such law has no place in judicial proceedings.
Chinaka said: "For purposes of straightening the records, there is freedom of religion inexterminably embedded in the Nigerian Constitution as eloquently consecrated by section 38(1). By fishing far afield into the prohibited province of the inapplicable sharia law, Justice Nyako goofed full time by struggling to assist the prosecutor’s case in defiance of the sound admonitions of the Nigerian Supreme Court in the case of Ndidi v. The State (2007) 5 S,C, 175 at 196 thus;
“….we should not forget that in criminal trials, particularly in capital offences, the trial court must arrive at its decision through a process of reasoning which is analytical and commands confidence. A judgment which sends a man to the gallows and awaits the hangman to execute him at any single minute, must be punctuated by a logical thinking based on a cogent and admissible evidence in which the facts leading to his conviction are clearly found and legal inference carefully drawn. It can hardly be allowed to stand if founded on scraggy reasoning or a perfunctory performance.”
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The IPOB said the Supreme Court has laid down in clear terms that a trial court must not be seen to appear to look for excuse to support the case before it.
The group also noted that such move by a court only shows that the court has turned itself to a prosecutor in the matter.
"In summing up, we would like to take the liberty of this press release to remind Justice Nyako of that immortal counsel of the great Master of the Rolls, Lord Denning, in his classic, Family Story at page 162. Hear him;
“When a judge sits to try a case he is himself on trial before his or her fellow countrymen and women (gathered in the courtroom.) It is on his behavior that they will form their opinion of our system of justice. He or she must be robed in the scarlet of the Red Judge – so as to show that he or she represents the majesty of the law.
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He or she must be dignified – so as to earn the respect of all who appear before him or her. He or she must be alert – to follow all that goes on. He or she must be understanding to show that he or she is aware of the temptations that beset everyone. He or she must be merciful – so as to show that he or she too has the quality which ‘droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath’.”
One sincerely hopes that moving forward Justice Nyako would carry on with the trial in a manner wholly consistent with the best tradition of the judiciary under the Nigerian Constitution. She (Justice Nyako) should do well to imbibe the counsel of Fabiyi, J.C.A when he advised thus;
“Sobriety should be the first watch-word for anyone who, per chance, finds himself in the exalted position of a Judge. A judicial officer should not be talkative or loquacious… Above all, a judge should not be biased under any guise.” See Eriobunah v. Obiorah (1999) 8 NWLR (pt. 616) C.A. 622 at 646.
We choose to say no more on this until the determination of the court on the issue of secret trial slated for April 6.