In what appear to be public sympathy for the man who was arrested for naming his dog, “Buhari”, a public interest lawyer, Inibehe Effiong has offered to rally about 100 lawyers to defend the accused when the case comes up on September 19, 2016.
www.communitystories.ng reports that the lawyer made this known on his Facebook Timeline.
“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. The human rights community will never sit back and watch innocent citizens being traumatised and dehumanized. The fact that the two persons who donated this money are from the North and the South West, respectively, shows that the bonds of brotherhood and egalitarianism among patriotic Nigerians are superior to the whimsical and repulsive commentaries of the ethnic and religious bigots. 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. On the request of the wife of Chinakwe, I wish to convey my appreciation to the donors. May God replenish them. All things being equal, Chinakwe will be out of the prison custody in the coming hours.
Convener, Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (COHRD).”
It would be recalled that the accused that named his dog “Buhari” and painted the name on both sides of the dog was arrested for breach of the peace. Joe Fortemose Chinakwe walked Buhari in an area where support for the president was high, police said. Officers said they were worried the moved could antagonise people, though he insisted it was meant as a compliment.
He has been granted bail but remains in jail as funds are sought, reports said. Mr Chinakwe, 30, said that he named the dog Buhari because he had admired Mr Buhari for many years. “I named my beloved pet dog Buhari, who is my hero,” Mr Chinakwe said. “My admiration for Buhari started far back when he was a military head of state.”
He was inspired to give his dog the name after reading about Mr Buhari’s fight against corruption, he added. He later told local media he had received death threats over the perceived slight. Twitters users reacted to the arrest with a mixture of amusement and concern. “If we keep quiet when they arrest the man who named his dog Buhari who will talk for us when they arrest us for criticizing the real Buhari?” said Reno Omokri. Mr Chinakwe’s case was adjourned until 19 September.