In apparent response to recent calls for support for Abba Kyari by the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, a group of about 31 young northern Nigerian lawyers has volunteered to render legal services to the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police.
Speaking for the group, Barrister Sunusi Bappah Salisu said the volunteer lawyers are drawn across all the 19 northern states and across all religions and tribes.
The lawyers, he said, have volunteered to render free expert legal services for the preservation of Mr. Kyari’s fundamental rights that may be potentially jeopardized by his alleged indictment by a court in the United States of America.
He said they would critically review the procedures adopted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to get the US Court to indict Kyari on allegations of involvement in charges filed against a suspected fraudster, Ramon Abbas Hushpuppi.
“We would raise questions involving the possibility of the occasioning of breaches to Kyari’s fundamental rights entrenched in Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right which essentially state that every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his person and every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard.
“This comprises: The right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of violating his fundamental rights as recognized and guaranteed by conventions, laws, regulations and customs in force;
“The right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent court or tribunal; the right to defence, including the right to be defended by counsel of his choice; the right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court or tribunal,” he said.
The lawyer said they would weigh the procedures against the intendment of Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which specifically stated that, in the determination of his civil rights and obligations, including any question or determination by, or against any government, or authority, a person shall be entitled to fair hearing within a reasonable time by a court, or other tribunal.
“Subsections 9 and 10 of this section also stipulates that everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law and everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him,” he said.
Explaining further,he said “And the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights also states that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence”.
The CNG had, at a Roundtable in Kaduna pointed out several procedural lapses bordering on breaches of international protocol in the supposed FBI attempt to wrap Kyari in the Hushpuppy affair as well as the obvious haste by the Nigeria Police authorities to strip him of his position with an immediate substantive replacement.
CNG specifically pointed out that when Ibrahim Magu of the EFCC came under probe, he was asked to step aside for the most senior official in the Commission to act pending the outcome of the probe.
They also cited the case of Hadiza Bala Usman who was asked to handover to the next senior official and face investigation but quite contrarily Kyari was removed and a substantive replacement announced immediately.
It therefore called on lawyers from northern Nigeria to mobilise and deploy legal resources in ensuring that Mr Kyari’s rights are not violated by a foreign power or abuse of local administrative processes.