The legal team of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has clarified that a former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Imo State, Chukwuma Machukwu-Ume (SAN), was appointed to join the team challenging the proscription of IPOB in court and not the team defending the it leader.
According to the head of the legal team, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Mike Ozekhome remains the only Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) in the defence team against treason charges before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Ejiofor’s explanation was contained in a statement titled: ‘Clarification of information on the legal team of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu Re: Inclusion of Chief Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN),’ which was made available to The Eastern Updates.
He said, ‘My attention has been called tonight to the information making the rounds that Chief Chukwuma Machukwu Ume, SAN, has been included in the legal team defending our indefatigable client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in the 15 counts amended charge preferred against him at the Federal High Court, Abuja. This information has generated effusive commentary of a diverse nature making it expedient for me to say a few words by way of clarification.
‘Firstly, I say straight away that the information, in actual fact, is misinformation. No SAN, apart from Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), is in the legal team defending Onyendu in the aforesaid pending criminal matter.
‘Secondly, Chief Chukwuma Machukwu Ume (SAN), on the instruction of Onyendu, was introduced into the already existing IPOB legal team, ably headed by my good self, to prosecute the pending appeal challenging the Proscription of IPOB. The said appeal is pending at the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division. This appeal and the 15-count Amended Charge pending at the Federal High Court, Abuja, are entirely two different cases.
‘Thirdly, any instruction to engage any lawyer whatsoever to join in the legal team representing either Onyendu or IPOB in cases pending in court must come from Onyendu himself and not from any other person whatsoever. Onyendu has been particularly enthused by and appreciative of the quality of advocacy demonstrated by Chief Mike Ozekhome, (SAN), in the conduct of proceedings at the Federal High Court. He has implicit confidence in the present formidable legal team defending him. Accordingly, he has no need whatsoever to tinker with the idea or consider the possibility of engaging another senior lawyer in his defence, presently or in the foreseeable future.
‘However, in the unlikely event of such future engagement, information to that effect must proceed either from my good self or from the revered and respected learned silk.
‘Finally, I urge Umuchineke and the general public to take particular note of the above clarification and be properly guided. Thank you all, Umuchineke, and remain blessed.’
Meanwhile, the separatist leader is expected in court next month when his matter comes up for hearing.
THE EASTERN UPDATES