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Monday 12 February 2024

The Corruption Of The Nigerian Judicial System, The Plight Of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu And IPOB

 The Corruption Of The Nigerian Judicial System, The Plight Of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu And IPOB

Corruption, a devastating cancer that gnaws at the very foundation of every society, that has ever allowed it to fester and grow either wittingly or unwittingly. Often disguised in its insidious and appealing form that allows it to penetrate key institutions meant to ensure the effectiveness of running affairs of state, primarily the one responsible for upholding of justice and fairness, which unarguably is the very anchorage or springboard whence development and growth finds its root.

In Nigeria, the judiciary, purported and expected to be the bastion of righteousness, stands accused and guilty of succumbing to the rot of corruption. Among the myriad victims of this malaise is Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) movement – who was kidnapped and extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya nearly three years ago and whose legal tussle with the Nigerian Government, has invariably exposed the level of decadence and erosion of justice in the country.

The adage "the worst corruption is the corruption of the best" resonates profoundly in Nigeria's judicial system. The judiciary, entrusted with the sacred duty of safeguarding the rule of law and ensuring equality of all before it - regardless of class, creed or orientation has, in many instances, been compromised by the influence of money, power, and political interests. Justice, once perceived as an impartial arbiter, has been morphed to be a commodity available to the highest bidder in Nigeria.

Reports of judges soliciting bribes and manipulating the legal system in favor of the vendee, as well as political interference in judicial proceedings remains rampant and have become common in the Nigerian enclave. The consequences of this systemic corruption are dire, as it undermines public trust in the judiciary, weakens the foundation and credibility of the supposed Nigerian democracy, and perpetuates impunity among/of the ruling elite.

Within this context of institutional and constitutional decay, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu's legal saga has served as a poignant, practical example of the injustices wrought in the compromised Nigerian judiciary. Kanu, a vocal advocate and political activist - for the self-determination of the people of Eastern Nigeria otherwise known as Bịafrans - through the establishment of the Republic of Biafra via a United Nations supervised referendum, has been embroiled in a web of intense legal battles since his unlawful abduction in 2015 by the Nigerian security agencies.

The charges against Kanu, ranging from treasonable felony to terrorism, is clearly understood to be politically motivated, aimed at silencing the dissension and quelling the aspirations of the IPOB movement. Despite the lack of credible evidence to substantiate these charges levied by the Federal government either in penultimate 2015-17 or contemporary 2021-date, Kanu has continued to languished in solitary confinement of the Nigerian State Gestapo secret Police Gulag for nearly three years, a victim of judicial delay tactics and executive overreach.

Throughout their ordeal, Kanu and IPOB have always decried the corruption Nigeria’s judiciary, alleging that the legal system has been weaponized to suppress their legitimate demands for self-determination and equity, citing instances of judicial bias against them, arbitrary rulings, and the denial of bail as evidence of a rigged system designed to subjugate dissenting voices.

The case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu underscores the broader struggle for justice and human rights in Nigeria. It exposes the fault lines of a legal system marred by corruption, inequity, and impunity. Kanu's supporters argue that his persecution is emblematic of the systemic oppression faced by marginalized communities in Nigeria, particularly the Igbo people of the southeast region.

The quest for justice in Kanu's case has extended beyond the confines of the courtroom, manifesting in widespread protests, international advocacy campaigns, and calls for accountability by the Nigeria legal and political establishment. Civil society organizations, human rights activists, and foreign governments have condemned the judicial persecution of Kanu and demanded his unconditional release. Coupled with the Airtight decision of Appellate court on 13th October, 2022 - which ordered his unconditional discharge and acquittal, although the Nigerian Supreme Court agreed with the argument and reason that led to the decision of its subordinate court, yet refused to uphold the judgement.

Despite plausible calls, pressure from reputable and prominent institutions and individuals alike, the Nigerian government has remained obstinate in its persecution of Kanu, other thousands of detained members/sympathizers of the Biafra cause and suppression of the IPOB movement. The authorities continued to extrajudicially manipulate the powers of the legal system against dissenting voices, employing tactics of intimidation, harassment, and judicial manipulation to stifle the civil resistance of the IPOB movement.

In the face of such adversity, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB have persevered, their resolve undeterred by the machinations of an oppressive state in collaboration with its pliable judiciary. They have leveraged the power of grassroots mobilization, media advocacy, and international solidarity to amplify their message of self-determination and support for the resistance.

The plight of Kanu and IPOB serves as a rallying cry for all those who seek justice, equality, and freedom in Nigeria. It exposes the glaring contradictions of a nation that purports to be a democracy yet denies its citizens the fundamental rights enshrined in its constitution. It challenges the notion of a fair and impartial judiciary and calls into question the legitimacy of the Nigerian democracy - which it, as well as its western enablers continues to use a pretext for oppression of not internally inside Nigeria, but also in West Africa sub region or even the wider African continent, to the benefit of their nefarious neocolonial advances and interests.

The struggle for justice in Nigeria is far from over, but the resilience of icons like Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and the IPOB movement offers hope in the face of adversity and the fortitude to be courageous in the face of unprecedented provocation and oppression. Their courage in the face of persecution will certainly serve as an inspiration to those who genuinely aspires to resist injustice and corruption, to demand accountability from those in power, and to envision a future where justice prevails for all not in today's Nigeria, but in also in the wider African continent and elsewhere. The precedent has been set and will endure forever.


As the world watches, the fate of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB hangs in the balance of uncertainty, given the fact that the IPOB movement has resolved to "throw in the towel" - in terms of trust and confidence in the Nigerian judicial system - a consequence of Nigeria's ill-conceived actions, arrogance and weaponization of the judiciary. The outcome and antecedents of their legal perseverance battle will reverberate far beyond the confines Nigerian enclave, and will shape the trajectory and future of the Nigeria experiment that was instigated by the British over a century ago and annals of history will be poised to bear conspicuous witness.

Written By Chima O. Biafra

Edited By Enenienwite Ikechukwu

For Family Writers Press International.

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