American constitutional lawyer and author, Bruce Fein has written An Open Letter to the Nigeria judiciary, ahead of Supreme Court judgment on Nnamdi Kanu case slated for December 15, 2023.
According to him, “a cornerstone principle of law stemming back many centuries is that crime should not pay. To rule against Nnamdi Kanu would permit the Nigerian government to profit from its own crimes, and embolden more of the same.,
The letter addressed to the Honorable Justices of the Supreme Court of Nigeria reads:
“December 15, 2023, will be a day in Nigeria that will live in judicial glory or infamy. The decision is in your hands.
“You have set aside that day to render judgment on the legality of Nnamdi Kanu’s prosecution by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Everyone knows the Nigerian Government’s ulterior motive: to punish Mr. Kanu for exercising his constitutionally protected free speech rights to urge self-determination for Biafrans through peaceful avenues of redress. This Court should not be blind to what all the world can see. Indeed, a Nigerian High Court sitting in Enugu recently held the Government’s outlawing Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) headed by Mr. Kanu for advocating self-determination was unconstitutional.
“Further, on July 20, 2022, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention of the United Nations Human Rights Council, found that Nnamdi Kanu’s solitary confinement since June 2021 violated sixteen (16) international human rights covenants binding on Nigeria and ordered his immediate and unconditional release and reparations. The Nigerian Government has lawlessly ignored the Working Group’s decision for over a year.
“The Nigerian Government did not deny that it had conspired with Kenya to have Mr. Kanu kidnapped and tortured in Nairobi and subject to extraordinary rendition to Abuja in June 2021 and committed multiple crimes against his person. These crimes followed an attempted Nigerian Government assassination of Mr. Kanu on September 14, 2017, which was legally condemned by the High Court of Abia State on January 19, 2022.
“A cornerstone principle of law stemming back many centuries is that crime should not pay. To rule against Nnamdi Kanu would permit the Nigerian government to profit from its own crimes, and embolden more of the same.
“Under international law and practice, Biafrans have been denied the right to self-determination through a free and fair independence referendum arranged and conducted by a neutral international body as the South Sudanese enjoyed in 2011. This norm of international law is not reserved for Africa only. The United Kingdom offered Scotland a self-determination vote in 2014. Canada offered Quebec a self-determination vote in 1995. In both cases, independence failed because the United Kingdom and Canada treated all their citizens evenhandedly and under the rule of law.
“Nnamdi Kanu is seeking to undo the wickedness and avarice of British colonization in Nigeria. Amalgamation of distinct peoples—including Biafrans, Yoruba, and Hausa-Fulani—was compelled by British machine guns in 1914. Nigeria’s boundaries were illegal at birth born of the cynical chant, “Whatever happens we have got the Maxim gun and they have not.” Not a single African had a say in Nigeria’s boundaries, which endure today as a legacy of British lawlessness and a colonial policy of divide-and-conquer. Nigeria has been a chronically convulsed artificial state since independence in 1960. Legal and moral responsibility lies with the United Kingdom.
“To support Nnamdi Kanu is to expel the cruel, unlawful remnants of British colonialism in Nigeria. The British stole sovereignty from each distinct peoples of Nigeria by abandoning the international law obligation to offer each independence referenda.
“Be inspired by the Pakistan Supreme Court bullied by military dictator Pervez Musharraf. In 2009, the Supreme Court held the dictator’s emergency rule was unconstitutional. A decade later, a special court found Musharraf guilty of treason for suspending the Constitution and sentenced him to death. Pakistan’s lawyers applauded both decisions as landmarks in the rule of law.
“Do not be intimidated or bribed by President Bole Tinubu. His presidency is already on life support because of credible evidence of diploma fraud or drug trafficking in the United States.
“A decision in favor of Nnamdi Kanu would be overwhelmingly applauded by Nigerian lawyers—a high water mark in the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. The Court would become an instant candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Nigeria’s upheavals would begin to abate.
“Additionally, you would become a model for other African courts by giving life to judicial independence, the secret of domestic tranquility.
“Make December 15 the finest hour of the Supreme Court of Nigeria. All eyes will be upon you.
With deepest respect,
Law Offices of Bruce Fein
300 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20001
Phone: 202-465-8728; 703-963-4968 (M)
International counsel and spokesman for Nnamdi Kanu”