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News - North Central - FCT Updated: March 20, 2024

HURIWA calls for reevaluation of Nnamdi Kanu's legal strategy

By Maureen Okpe
March 20, 2024
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Following the recent outcome of the court denial of bail to Nnamdi  Kanu given his health challenges, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has denounced the removal of Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor from Kanu's legal team. 

The  civil rights advocacy group characterized the move as not just a high technical error but a profound misstep, considering the monumental successes both lawyers have achieved in the course of defending Kanu.

According to a press statement released on Wednesday, in Abuja by the groups National Coordinator Emmanuel Onwubiko, the removal of Ozekhome and Ejiofor occurred at a critical juncture in Kanu's legal battle.

Onwubiko pointed out how the new set of lawyers did not succeed in convincing the judge to grant bail to Kanu, given his health challenges, which signals a setback in his quest for justice. 

“The removal of Ozekhome and Ejiofor comes amidst a critical juncture in Kanu's legal battle, marked by the recent poor outing of the new set of lawyers who could not succeed in convincing the judge to grant their client a bail in view if his health challenges."

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HURIWA praised Chief Ozekhome and Ejiofor for their vibrant legal representation, noting that their expertise and unwavering commitment to justice have been instrumental in navigating the complexities of Kanu's case.

They highlighted Ozekhome's legal acumen, which has led to the dismissal of numerous charges against Kanu. Similarly, they acknowledged Ejiofor's steadfast advocacy and unwavering commitment to his client's cause, despite facing personal risks, including alleged assassination attempts and tragic losses.

“Ozekhome's legal acumen has been evident in his adept handling of Kanu's defense, leading to the dismissal of numerous charges against the IPOB leader. His strategic brilliance and dedication to upholding the principles of justice have earned him widespread acclaim within legal circles.

“Similarly, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor's contributions to Kanu's legal defense cannot be overstated. Ejiofor's steadfast advocacy and unwavering commitment to his client's cause have been evident throughout his tenure as Kanu's lead counsel.

“Despite facing immense personal risks, including reported assassination attempts and the tragic loss of his close aides during armed invasions of his residence in Oraifite, Ejiofor has remained resolute in his pursuit of justice for Kanu and IPOB.

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“Since joining Nnamdi Kanu's legal team in December 2015, and eventually took on the role of Nnamdi Kanu’s lead Counsel and also as the IPOB General/Lead Counsel in January, 2016, Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiuofor has diligently performed his professional duties in defending Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB while upholding ethical standards.

“Despite achieving significant and unprecedented victories in securing the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and other comrades in 2017 and 2018 respectively, he has also worked tirelessly to secure the release of numerous IPOB members from detention facilities; both at the federal and state levels, possibly numbering in their thousands.

"These efforts have not gone without consequent repercussions, as both state and non-state actors have allegedly attempted to eliminate him through various inordinate means, part of which was the invasion of his ancestral home in Oraifite, Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Anambra State, by Nigerian Security agents.

“During this operation, many civilians were reportedly murdered in their prime and over 30 houses were burnt, all in a bid to eliminate him at all costs and by any means, perhaps, for being Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Attorney and IPOB Lead counsel.

"According to media reports, from 2015 to 2021, Ejiofor narrowly survived five consecutive violent assassination attempts purportedly orchestrated by individuals specifically tasked with eliminating him at any cost. These attempts were not due to any wrongdoing on his part, but has been linked solely because of his defense of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu”, HURIWA narrated.

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Onwubiko however noted that, although it is the right of the defendant to decide who is to represent him legally in court, HURIWA expressed deep concern over attempts to vilify Ozekhome and Ejiofor, stressing that dedicated advocates like them, who have risked their lives to defend Kanu, should not be subjected to malicious attacks and unfounded allegations.

They urged Kanu's new legal team to prioritize their mandate and focus on securing his release expeditiously, warning against casting aspersions on esteemed lawyers like Ozekhome and Ejiofor, which could detract from the urgent need for justice.

 “It is imperative to recognize the legal triumphs secured by Ozekhome and Ejiofor, including Kanu's previous releases and the quashing of several charges against him. Furthermore, the failure of the previous administration of Muhammadu Buhari to comply with the Court of Appeal's judgment, which ordered Kanu's release, underscores the need for impartial and diligent legal representation."

 

 

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Maureen Okpe

Maureen is a media practitioner and an impeccable writer with close to 4 years active experience wor...

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