‘I Am Sorry For All The Stir’ — NBA 1st VP, Aikpokpo-Martins, Apologizes For Comment On Crushing Of Kanu And Igboho

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John Aikpokpo Martins

The First Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins, has apologized for his comment on his Facebook wall regarding Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Igboho.

The Nation Newspaper had reported that Aikpokpo-Martins said any President of Nigeria is constitutionally bound to crush secessionists like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho. That Mr Aikpokpo-Martins said under Nigerian law, self-determination agitations are “simply unconstitutional”.

However, in a statement shared on his Facebook page titled ‘I AM SORRY FOR ALL THE STIR.’, Aikpokpo-Martins said he never meant mischief by his comment. He said his comment was culled by the Nation Newspaper with skewed and sensational headline without his knowledge and consent

He said it was never his intention to advocate for extrajudicial sanction of persons by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“On the 3rd of July, 2021, without any inhibition or any mischief whatsoever intended, I made a post on my Facebook timeline arising from an exchange with friends without any inkling that the said post will be surreptitiously and clandestinely culled for publication without my knowledge and consent by the Nation Newspaper and with a sensational but skewed headline, so much so that my said post went viral and snowballed into such an emotive national diatribe.

“Be that as it may, it has become imperative and germane to put it on record that it was never my intention to suggest vide the said post, and same did not suggest that the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any other person at that is at liberty to deal or engage any person or citizen for whatever reason outside constitutional confines and statutory restrictions guaranteed and established by the constitution and laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.” Aikpokpo-Martins stated.

He further restated the stance of the NBA President, Olumide Akpata, that NBA will continue to champion and defend the right of citizens including rights to protest, presumption of innocence and fair trail.

He said, “Let me say that as a person, a lawyer and the 1st Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association, I have not, cannot and will not advocate for any extra-legal and/or extra-judicial sanction that is contrary and inimical to the promotion of the rule of law within the confines of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be meted out on any person alleged to have committed any crime.

“May I also state that I unequivocally agree and totally subscribe to the statement of my President, Olumide Akpata that ‘the NBA, as an Association founded to defend the Rule of Law, will continue to champion and defend the rights of every Nigerian citizen and/or group including, inter-alia, the right to lawful and peaceful protest; the right to make lawful demands recognized under the Nigerian Constitution or international charters applicable to Nigeria; and the right to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise by a Court of Law in a free and fair trial that accords with the basic principles of natural justice.’ ”

The First Vice-President concluded by Apologizing once again.

“Finally, let me also take the liberty to make the point that this is not the time to win arguments, but a time for circumspection and reflection; a time to rekindle the smoldering flame of justice, equity and peace; and a time to soothen discombobulated nerves.

“In the light of the above, therefore, it can only be proper and brave to say; I am sorry for all the stir.”

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