The apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has refuted reports claiming that it send any legal team to meet with Abubakar Malami.
The Minister of Justice had said in a statement issued on Monday by his media aide, Dr. Jibrin Umar Gwandu, that the Ohanaeze legal team met with him and indicated willingness to monitor the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
But speaking with The Punch on Monday evening, the President-General, Ohanaeze, Prof George Obiozor, denied sending any legal team to meet with Malami.
He affirmed that the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide led by him did not send anyone to the Federal Government, adding that another organisation using the name of Ohanaeze might have met the AGF.
He said, “Ohanaeze legal team? I don’t know about that one. I don’t know about that Ohanaeze legal team; we haven’t sent a legal team.
“I don’t know about that Ohanaeze. Maybe it is another Ohanaeze wherever, but the Ohanaeze worldwide, the one led by me, has not sent any legal team yet to him (Malami). We constituted our team just on Saturday led by the Ohanaeze national legal adviser.”
Responding earlier to a legal team raised by the Ohanaeze group to monitor Kanu’s trial, Malami had assured the Ohanaeze Ndigbo that it will be allowed to monitor the trial of Kanu, adding that the arrested IPOB leader will get a free trial.
The minister added that the federal government has nothing to hide and the IPOB leader will get a free trial.
Malami, however, appealed to the monitoring group to come with an open mind and be ready to accept whatever verdict the court reaches after the trial.
He also expressed hope that the group would be open-minded and guided by the rule of law by conveying the court’s judgment to its people in their local dialects.
The statement read in part, “The group showed a mature departure from the mindset of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra when Ohanaeze said: ‘We do not support the use of any form of violence’, while channelling concerns and presenting demands.
“By urging the youth to be law-abiding and sheath their sword as well as asking them to try to obtain voter cards to enable them to contribute to national development, the position of Ohanaeze becomes glaringly constitutional and commendable.
“The current administration respects the rule of law and does not advocate the breach of law. Hence, with or without the so-called monitoring group, justice will be adequately served to Nnamdi Kanu in compliance with the enshrined provisions of the law.
“It is hoped that the unnecessary legal monitoring group will come with open-mind and be guided by nothing but the rule of law in the process so as to convey the judgment of the Court as may eventually be delivered to their people in various languages and dialects of the members of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo communities and the entire Nigerians.”