Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins, Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) 1st Vice President has apologized for the ‘stir’ caused by the comment attributed to him that “President of Nigeria is constitutionally bound to crush secessionists like Nnamdi Kanu and Sunday Adeyemo, alias Sunday Igboho” saying he was quoted out of context by the media.
Mr. John Aikpokpo-Martins had come under heavy criticism after the said publication with many faulting his position. Specifically, the NBA President, issued a statement disowning the publication and stating that same was Mr. Aikpokpo-Martin’s personal view.
In a post titled “I am sorry for the Stir“, published on his Facebook page earlier today, Mr. Aikpokpo-Martins clarified that he never intended for his comment to snowball into an emotive national diatribe. In his words:
“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.”
He maintains that the post never suggested that anybody is at liberty to deal or engage any person or citizen for whatever reason outside constitutional confines and statutory restrictions.
“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.”
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.”
He further aligned with the statement of the President of the NBA on the issue that the rul of law should at all times be paramount.
“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.”
“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 smouldering 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.”