Saturday, 06 May 2017 02:46

Story Behind Nigeria's Bail Conditions for IPOB Nnamdi Kalu

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It is the popular opinion that the bail conditions given to Nnamdi Kalu  were an overkill in the sense that the conditions represented an attempt to catch a tiny fish with a massive net. Nigeria failed to look beyond a myopic, tunnel vision to see a larger picture that could have been exploited to unite the nation and pull us out of a conundrum.

A conundrum refers to a riddle whose answer is a pun or a paradox, or to any problem whose answer is uncertain. Some conclusions to be drawn from an analysis of the bail conditions can be seen at the end of this essay. This leads us to our earlier conviction: Igbos are gods.

Nnamdi Kalu was released from Kuje Prison on Friday, April 28, following the bail conditions  granted by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja last Tuesday, April 25. He spent one year and six months in detention after he was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Securities in Lagos upon his return from the United Kingdom on October 14, 2015.

The purpose of this essay is to examine the bail conditions Justice Nyako, sitting at Abuja Court, stipulated her fellow Nigerian citizen Mr. Kalu must agree to before the later could be released from prison to prepare for his defense.  There are some important conclusions to be drawn from the Kanu-Nyako episode. Read to the end of this essay to examine the conclusions.

Maintaining that the only reason she granted bail to Kanu was because of Kanu’s  ill health, Justice Nyako of Nigeria marshaled out about thirteen (13) conditions that must be met prior to (not subsequent to) Nnamdi Kalu’s release from detention. The conditions now follow below.

Mr. Kalu must not hold rallies. He must not grant interviews. He must not be in a crowd of more than 10 people.

Mr. Kanu must provide three sureties in the sum of N100 million each. Obne of the sureties must be a senior highly placed person of Igbo extraction such as a senator. The second surety must be a highly respected Jewish leader since Mr. Kanu said his religion is Judaism. The third surety must be a highly respected person who owns landed property and is resident in Abuja.

The IPOB leader must deposit his Nigerian passport. He must also deposit his British passport with the court. The order for him to deposit his Nigerian and British passports is meant to ensure Mr. Kalu the IPOB leader cannot travel out of the country to avoid prosecution.

He must provide the court with reports on the progress of his health and treatment on a monthly basis.

Justice Nyako however refused bail to the three other defendants standing trial with Kanu, namely Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi. All three prisoners were seen wearing handcuffs in court.  The following are observations this writer is making in reaction to the incidence of the stiff bail conditions offered to IPOB leader Nnamdi Kalu by the Nigerian government through Justice Nyako.

ILL HEALTH: The ill health of an accused is a tenable, reasonable, justifiable, defensible, rational, plausible reason  to grant temporary or permanent  relief from  prosecution. For this reason, we commend the learned judge, Justice Nyako and heap accolades on her for tempering justice with mercy. Judicial mercy is clemency, compassion, and understanding.

NIGERIA’S OVERKILL: Justice Nyako did overkill justice in the rush to demonize the prisoner. To demonize is to portray an individual or group of individuals as an evil, demonic, or a dangerous criminal; to make the IPOB leader look worse and more reprehensible or terrible/terrifying than he actually is.

Nyako does what she does perhaps to score a point, or perhaps to deal with pressure from President Buhari and the Buharians  who are bent on seeking  a revenge consisting of “Shakespearen pound of flesh,” in order to steady a rocky, rocking boat.  Nigeria is a ship, and at the helm is the Queen of Great Britain, wearing a crown. Therefore, treasonable phelony is a crime against the Crown, though the offense may take place thousands of miles off the shores of Great Britain.  Sometimes, the Queen orders an overkill to protect her Empire.

To overkill is to protect self through a revenge or to take punishment to such a comical level as to cause easy laughter or glee. An overkill can be seen in a soldier who shoots the victim down and continues to pour bullets into a lifeless corpse. An overkill is an overload, overstatement, heavy handedness, too much of a good thing.

We must respect the learned Judge Nyako, for she is learning the rope and she is not the boss in a bureaucratic nation where judicial independence is a fairy tale, and judges are hauled away to prison without due process, for failing to serve as gramophone that repeats “his master’s voice.”

As extensions or appendages of the power that be, judges can act without restraints. Restraint is the opposite of overkill, and Nigerians have an inverted notion of justice that lacks restraint in personal or public life as seen in the embezzlement of huge sums of money with uncountable zeros belonging to the people.

Can anyone see overkill in the murder a Christian woman whose corpse was paraded in the open market as if she were a trophy, simply because she happened to dance to a different drummer, to believe in a different onye nwe anyi (our Lord) than the terrorists’ Allah?

PUNISHMENT VERSUS REHABILITATION: While the rest of the free world subscribes to the humane rehabilitation which changes conditions that breed lawlessness and that attack  constituted authority (such as the Nigerian government, for example), Justice Nyako and the government she represents uphold cruel punishment and excessive force to control the expression of human liberty.

Cruel punishment is the use of sentencing, penalty, chastisement, castigation, reprimand, retribution, or death in its most extremely outrageous form to muzzle and silence citizens. Punishment is a form of cruelty. Cruelty is  meanness, nastiness, brutality, malice, spite, spitefulness, vindictiveness.

Rehabilitation, on the other hand, as contradictory to punishment, is the readiness to correct a behavior through the use of treatment, therapy, healing, cure, analysis, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, religion, or love.

BOTTOM LINE? Bottom line is  WHO WINS THE CONTEST? We say all these things to say that we need a WIN-WIN situation and that Nigeria  ought to win her citizens over. Mr. Nnamdi kalu could have been won over to Buhari’s side through rehabilitation, love, compassion, and concern rather than through hate, armamentarium, or intimidation.

Armamentarium is the effective equipment of a warship (Nigeria is always a ship at war), including the war planes, fortifications, guns, rifles, armory, My country Nigeria  is arming or being armed for war. Most of our so-called military might are purchased from white men with expensive price tags. where is the money left over to build roads and provide our electricity?  

What could a mere 40-year-old Igbo young man, filled with youthful energy,  and drunk with an inflated sense of self- importance  do to harm a nation of 180,000,000 people, a nation with fully functioning armed forces? Nigeria and her legal system overreacted with explosive force.

Nnamdi Kalu has no weapons other than onu, onu, ntaghari onu (mouth, mouth, and talking mouth).  A talking mouth demonstrates that democracy is well and alive in Nigeria.

This writer would rather have talking mouths without a government than a government without talking mouths. We ought to show the world that we are a democracy, the “indepanda.”  Nigerians are not caged animals who have no voices.

DOES THE GLOVE FIT THE HAND?: Readers need to be reminded that we are concerned with whether the drastic, heavy-handed bail conditions stacked up against a 40-year-old impressionable young man were fair, and whether Nnamdi Kalu’ s justice was delayed and his  freedom snatched away.

Justice delayed is justice denied. A denial of justice occurred when  young Nnamdi Kalu  sought   fame (even if the fame lasts for a fleeting second), and the Nigerian legal system responded with actions which were hampering, daunting, or fettering. The three verbs mean hindering of free speech.

Stiff bail conditions did not fit the alleged offense described as treasonable felony. That is the same mystery charge that landed Chief Obafemi Awolowo in jail and sent Chief Abiola to early grave.

CROWD OF 10 PERSONS: Restricting Kanu to a crowd no more than 10 persons means the man cannot go to church or visit his family members and he would avoid attending funerals of his deceased umu nna (kindreds).

THREE HUNDRED MILLION NAIRA SURETIES: Justice Nyako got it wrong when she attempts to force Nigerians into the pigeon-hole thought process where one is compelled to develop a tunnel  vision of Nigerian justice.  

Tunnel vision is the tendency to focus exclusively on a single or limited goal or point of view. It is an all-or-none solution to a complex issue. Tunnel vision is the one-size-fits-all market, where one buys a size 12 dress for a skinny, scrawny, skeletal, malnourished Fulani female (subsisting on fermented cow milk), and attempts to force the skimpy dress on the body of a fat, obose, rotunda Igbo akpu (cassava) eater.

A huge misgiving in the Nigerian society is the tendency to measure everything in life in terms of sums of money. My people have such a misguided notion of money when they talk obsessively of material possessions. It is terrible!

                                                                                                                                                                                                 This writer We can sleep peacefully when you mention N100 (one hundred naira), N1,000 (one thousand Naira), or even N100,000 (one hundred thousand naira). Few people can sleep well without experiencing nightmares when Nyako talks about N100,000,000 (one hundred million Naira), and N300, 000,000 (three hundred million Naira). Many people are led to steal or resort to witch doctors who may demand human sacrifices. Love of money opens doors to many evils.

We ought to de-emphasize money and emphasize non-monetary values. We ought to refuse to tell our Nigerian sons and daughters “Baby, everything you see is  about money, money, and more money”. There is more to life than just money, and the best thing a Nigerian mother and father ought to give a Nigerian child is not money. The best gifts to give our children are positive values, not millions of Naira.

The best thing in life is life itself, followed by respect and love for the nation and being of assistance to others.  The most valuable things in life are invaluable. To be considered invaluable, the thing must be precious, priceless, very useful, helpful, or important.

 If Justice Nyako had been schooled in non-monetary values, she would agree with the proposition that invaluable items include but are not limited to life, health, freedom, love, altruism, and kindness. Service rendered to others is an invaluable gift that only Heaven can repay. Then, we can boldly say to our son or daughter: “Baby, money is not that important because the best possession your mother and I have is not money. It is the gift of you. Tell me this: now much is your life worth?”

ON JEWISH SURETY: One cannot fail to detect traces of poisonous colonial mentality in Justice Nyako bail conditions. Must Nigerians often run to foreigners to ask for favors? Is a Jewish rabbi a better surety than a Fulani  herdsman who owns a million heads of cows, or a Calabar  merchant who deals  in ahia iwu (merchant who deals in banned goods shipped from Fernando Po)? What about a Nigerian pastor who owns churches in every nation and a fleet of sleek jets?

THE ABCD OF NIGERIAN JUSTICE. A stands for Allaharization;  B stands for the Buharization of Nigerian politics; C stands for Cannonization; and D is Demonization. Allaharization is the habit of categorizing any offense or situation as a case involving Allah. Buharization is the messing up of the body politic whereby any disagreement or demonstration is seen as a decamp from Buhari’s Aso Rock.

Canonization is the declaration that a person who kills others or uses extralegal means to cause the death of someone opposed to Buhari’s views, is to be granted special dispensation, indulgence, allowance, special consideration, privilege, relaxation of rules, or exemption. Demonization is the habit of reducing persons opposed to Buhari’s government to the position of a demon, imp, evil spirit, Satan, or dangerous criminal.  

CONCLUSIONS: The Buhari government and Justice Nyako ought to learn from the Nnamdi Kalu episode as they retrace steps to move Nigeria on the path to true democracy

Mr. Nnamdi Kalu is a tiny fish that ought to have been caught with a tiny leafy bait woven with compassion, not a massive steel net. 

Kalu should have been marginalized, rendered a more potent contributor to governance if we can lure him into becoming a team player on the side the Federal Government and in the service of his fellow citizens.

Let us listen as Kanu expounds his youthful ideas on how to govern 180,000,000 diverse persons; he would be able to explain if given the opportunity, and would find it difficult to remain silent. We must encourage Kanu to talk and not remain silent. So long as the Kanus are silent or silenced Nigerian will ever “be developing” but never “developed.”

Therefore, we abjure/reject silence of the dead night. We want the robust speech; we want loquacity, communicativeness, talkativeness, garrulity, chattering, babbling, gabbling, volubility, and the effusiveness of one hundred million Nnamdi Kalus. We want freedom which silence cannot guarantee.  The Kanus must be allowed to speak without being disturbed.

Kanu ought to be trained, equipped, encouraged to carry out nation-building assignments on behalf of his nation to his constituency, particularly to the Igbo youth who feel marginalized , disenfranchised, and alienated from the Hausa-Fulani-Muslim administration.

Nnamdi Kalu and followers who share his views ought to be involved in efforts to galvanize, fire up, and electrify, communication that would stimulate community efforts to solve Nigerian myriad problems of bad roads, inadequate electricity supply, gnawing hunger, unemployment, violence, and corruption.

Why aren’t the Nigerian youth involved in developing new inventions (gargets)? It is because nobody encourages them or provides incentives, and they are not allowed to speak.

The federal Government cannot claim to have all the answers .There are millions of  Nnamdi Kanus in a population of 180 million who may have better ideas on what the problems are and what solutions can serve our needs.  Let’s ask for and explore their suggestions rather than ostracize them.   To exclude a significant portion of Nigerian  population from the political process is not only bad government, it is impudence, effrontery, audacity,    

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Dr. James C. Agazie; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ;  jamesagazies.blogspot.com; 

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James Agazie Ed D

A retired college Professor  with educational backgrounds in law (JD) education (Ed.D, MA) counseling,( MS) and and mathematics.  Write on topics dealing with Nigerian families, marriages, education, and employment.