The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, condemned the Department of State Services (DSS) for refusing the captive leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, access to his lawyers contrary to court orders.
It criticized the DSS for alleged lawlessness and highhandedness since Kanu’s abduction and extradition from Kenya in June last year.
According to a statement issued in Abuja by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, the DSS actions against Kanu, if assessed, would be the highest manifestation of lawlessness and disregard for the judiciary.
Onwubiko recalled that the DSS had been flouting the orders of Justice Binta Nyako and that the judge had not deemed it fit to sanction the DSS.
In his words: “The judge had ordered that the DSS gives Kanu maximum comfort in custody including changing of clothes, access and use of his Jewish materials and other items of his faith, as well as freedom to converse with other detainees.
“But it is shocking that the DSS continues to flout the court orders and the judge sees no reason to slam a sanction the DSS, which is meant to uphold the law.
“The contempt application against the DSS reportedly filed by Kanu’s lawyers has neither been heard or transmitted to any judge for adjudication, thereby triggering suspicion that the Nigerian judiciary has surrendered its constitutional powers to the executive that controls the DSS.”
Proceeding, Onwubiko said the judge had also ordered that the DSS should permit Kanu access to his lawyers and any person that desired to visit him, but the failure of the DSS to acknowledge the order had not attracted any sanctions.
Also, he bemoaned the manner in which Kanu was being mistreated in detention, characterizing it as worrisome.
“Kanu not being allowed to change his clothes, because the DSS maintained that he can’t wear Isi Agu, a traditional clothes of the Igbo race, flies in the face of reason and good conscience and questions the DSS intention of its discriminatory policy that offends Section 42(1) of the 1999 Constitution,”
“How come that DSS operatives wear babanriga of the Northerners and Western suits of foreign jurisdiction, but is even heard arguing that wearing Igbo native Isi Agu is offensive to the DSS?
“Journalists, activists and other persons monitoring the trial of Kanu have also been arrested and released after being harassed and subjected to dehumanising conditions by lawless security agents.”
“Let the whole world know that Abba Kyari who is facing drug trafficking offences has not been paraded before the public eye but Kanu has been dehumanised beyond words.
Therefore, HURIWA advocated monitoring of the prosecution by accredited credible non-governmental bodies and for the DSS to allow Kanu access to his family members, lawyers and civil rights platforms on Kanu’s permission and the DSS to visit and assess his situation in detention.