The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has petitioned the United States Embassy in Nigeria urging for fairness in the matter of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.
The CNG in a letter served and endorsed by the American Embassy on Saturday in Abuja said it did not deny the FBI or any other police organisation for that matter, to investigate crimes, but is worried by the trajectory introduced around Kyari’s case.
The petition signed by CNG’s Spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, noted a number of “fundamental procedural lapses in the conduct of the investigation which tend not only to threaten the sovereign status of Nigeria but also infringe on its citizen’s rights and civil liberties; threatens the rule of law and confronts the humanity and civilization that the people the United States of America stands for.”
CNG said it specifically noted that the FBI, an acclaimed American security agency, might invariably have breached the standard legal and diplomatic practice by neglecting to contact either the Nigerian High Commission in the US or the Nigerian authorities through the FBI liaison offices based in Nigeria before going ahead to file for the indictment of a top Nigerian Security Officer.
“We also note that the FBI might have breached another fundamental criminal justice procedure by not according Mr Kyari the benefit of being heard before going ahead with the purported indictment by an American Court in the US for an offence purportedly committed in Nigeria, triable under Nigerian laws, by Nigerian courts and on Nigerian land.
“A breach of decorum and negligence of procedure might have also occurred when the FBI hurriedly published the purported indictment online without first intimating the Nigerian authorities and hearing the accused’s case,” the petition said.
The CNG cited Articles 6 and 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right, Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights which affirms that everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
Reminding the US that its bilateral friendship with Nigeria is guided by the principles of sovereignty, promotion of peace and the standards that guide legitimate interference, the CNG warned that their intervention, exclamations and actions should not be drawn to discountenance the right of the Nigerian state to protect the legal rights of its citizens.
“Let it also be clear that there is a mounting public concern that the action of the FBI could suggest that the US might wilfully be participating in Nigeria’s current political chase game and playing the card of the gang up of regional and ethnic propagandists against northern interests.
“It is, therefore, important that our friends in the US understand what a destabilised Nigeria will mean to the entire sub-Saharan region. As the most populous country on the continent and one that continues to influence peace and stability across the sub-continent, any breakdown of law and order will further make dangerous the situation in terms of regional security, international cohesion, migration and other challenges that will affect Africa and beyond,” the petition said.
The CNG recommitted itself to a just, fair and democratic global community where every citizen will be free to exercise his or her constitutional rights while respecting the rights and dignity of others.
“We are also committed to engaging with our international friends and partners based on mutual respect, harmony, international order, the principles of sovereignty and of international law and conventions,” read the petition which was countersigned by representatives of five other collaborating NGOs and CSOs.