In what can only be deemed as a show of unusual solidarity, over 100 lawyers, including 20 Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), have agreed to defend Mr. Joachim Chinakwe Iroko, who achieved infamy for naming his dog ‘Buhari’.
Chinakwe had been arrested in Ogun state after a neighbour who happened to be a Northerner complained about it and he was incarcerated over what the police termed as “an attempt to cause ethno-religious violence.”
First off one Barr. Inibehe Effiong, convener of the Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD), stated his support for Chinakwe and vowed to fight for the trader.
Not only that, but another similar group from Abuja also declared that they would ensure that Chinakwe’s rights are fully protected even if it requires pursuing the case beyond Nigeria’s courts.
The group, led by Mr. Joseph Adamu of the Coalition Against Human Rights Abuse (CAHRA), said it would assemble lawyers that would properly assist those who have begun free judicial representation for Iroko even as the group said it would raise financial assistance if needed.
Effiong said, “I wish to inform the public that two spirited members of the public responded to my appeal for assistance to Mr. Joe Chinakwe. The first person donated the sum of N40,000 yesterday while the second donated N50,000 this morning.”
“Thus a total sum of N90,000 has been donated to settle the legal fees. Recall that I sought N80,000 for this purpose.
“Once again, I wish to reiterate that I am not the counsel to Chinakwe. I have no personal interest whatsoever in the matter.
“My intervention in this case is purely based on my conviction that his arrest, detention and trial is unconstitutional, oppressive and vindictive. We cannot all submit to injustice, tyranny and arbitrariness.
“Anyone that is still in doubt about the political nature of this case should search his inner conscience closely. Those using ethnicity, religion and political sentiments to obfuscate this case should know that Nigeria is a country of laws,” he said.
He also added, “We are currently assembling a team of public interest cum human rights lawyers (we are targeting 100 lawyers or more) for the defence of Chinakwe, pro bono, from the next court sitting if the police insist on going ahead with this case.”