The Nigerian Bar Association has reacted to a statement by its Vice President, John Aikpokpo-Martins who declared that President Muhammadu Buhari is constitutionally empowered to crush agitators.
The NBA said the statement doesn’t represent the collective views of the group but is a personal opinion of its Vice President.
Aikpokpo-Martins made the submission while reacting to the re-arrest of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu by the federal government of Nigeria.
Naija News recalls Kanu who had jumped bail in 2017 was re-arrested and brought back into the country by security operatives about two weeks ago as confirmed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
He is currently in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) pending the resumption of his trial for felony and other charges.
Following the development, the NBA Vice President made a controversial statement in which he stated that President Buhari is constitutionally bound to “crush” secessionists.
His statement however attracted some angry reactions from some Nigerians who felt the statement was insensitive.
Reacting to the controversy generated by the statement, NBA President, Olumide Akpata has now distanced the body from the submission by its Vice President.
“The views expressed by the 1st Vice President are his personal views which he posted on his Facebook account in the course of an online exchange, and that the said views do not represent the position of the NBA on the subject”, Akpata noted in a statement.
He stressed that they have the right to peaceful protest, make lawful demands recognized under the Nigerian constitution or international charters applicable to Nigeria, and the right to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise by a court in a free and fair trial.
Meanwhile, the Eselu of Iselu Yewa, Oba Akintunde Akinyemi, on Sunday said the clampdown on separatists leaders like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho by the Federal Government would not stop the agitations.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Kanu is agitating for the Biafra Republic, while Igboho is calling for the Yoruba Nation.
The IPOB leader was arrested a few days ago and has been remanded in DSS custody, while Igboho’s residence was raided by operatives of the DSS last week Thursday, leading to the death of two of his aides.
The DSS while confirming the attack on the residence of Igboho said seven AK-47 rifles, three pump action guns, and a lot of ammunition were recovered from the house, an allegation that has since been debunked by Igboho.
Eselu while speaking on the development in an interview with Daily Post charged President Muhammadu Buhari to employ dialogue, instead of using force to address the situation.