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A group of legal luminaries under the auspices of the Igbo Lawyers Association (ILA) has kicked against allegations by the Federal Government that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Mr. Peter Obi has committed a treasonable offence, in demanding justice for being robbed of victory.
This came even as Igbo youths under the umbrella of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) warned that nothing untoward should happen to the former Anambra State Governor.
Eminent legal practitioners, including frontline rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, have dismissed the claim by the Muhammadu Buhari-administration that the Labour Party presidential team of Obi and Datti Ahmed is engaging in subversive acts.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had accused the duo in faraway Washington, USA, of plotting a violent change of government in Nigeria by not accepting the outcome of the February 25 presidential poll.
Datti, Obi’s running mate in the election, in particular, has been in the eye of the storm over his comment that the winner of the poll, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would not be sworn in on May 29.
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The ILA, led by Chief Chuks Muoma, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said it will summon an urgent meeting to discuss the matter. The group urged Obi not to abandon the case at the elections tribunal or go on exile, as being speculated in some quarters.
Igbo lawyers said they were saddened that Obi was being harassed, hounded and threatened to abandon the cause he had taken.
‘Why are they harassing him, because they cheated him out of his victory? Now, they are claiming he has committed treason offences. You cannot beat a child and deny him his tears, deny him crying,’ Mouma stated.
He said the hypocrisy against the Igbo of South-East in Nigeria, was so glaring for the world to see, stressing that until Ndigbo, who led the independence struggles were recognised and given their rightful positions in Nigeria, the country will not know peace.
‘Independence struggles for the country were spearheaded by the Igbo man; Nnamdi Azikiwe, Mbonu Ojike, Ozuomba Mbadiwe. Nigeria has to accept and give Igbo their rightful positions for it to move forward. As long as Nigeria hates Igbo, the country will remain as it is.’
On suggestions in some quarters that Peter Obi, should leave the country and go into self-exile, Muoma asked: “Why would Obi go on exile? For what? If they said he committed treason, let them go ahead but the fact remains that, they haven’t got any evidence against him. There is no evidence.
“The law is a matter of evidence and evidence is a matter of fact. All that they are doing is because Obi is an Igbo man. That’s exactly what the problem is.”
Another legal luminary, Chief Mike Ahamba, SAN, lamented that innocent Nigerians, especially from a particular area, were no longer safe, as speculative accusations are now being used as right evidence, to determine issues of adjudication, Ahamba said: “You cannot speculate on who will do this or that. I believe that God will save him. Nothing will happen to him.”
Also speaking, President General of COSEYL, Goodluck Ibem said the youth’s reading of the Minister of Information’s disclosure in the United States was that the Federal Government may have perfected a plot to harm Obi for being a man of integrity who believes in the rule of law.
The South East youths said that the only legitimate and transparent means to seek redress was the court, noting that Mohammed spoke as an emperor and dictator even in a supposedly democratic setting.