THE Nigerian meddling in former President Rupiah’s Banda’s case through stories being promoted by the Post newspaper will be arrested if he sets foot in Zambia because contempt of court is a universal offence that even applies in Nigeria, prominent lawyer Sakwiba Sikota has said.
The Post has been reporting on the comments that Nigerian Civil Society Network Against Corruption chairman Olanrewaju Suraju has been making on the matter which is still before the court.
Mr Sikota said Mr Suraju and his orgainisation had chosen to make contemptuous comments about matters that were in the Zambian courts from the confines of his country, Nigeria, because he was aware that he would be arrested if he were to make such comments in Zambia.
He said the Post Newspaper editor Fred M’membe and Rainbow Party president Wynter Kabimba were in court because they had been sued for contempt for commenting on former president Rupiah Banda’s cases which were in court.
He told the Daily Nation that Mr Suraju would be arrested in Zambia for his contemptuous statements against Mr Banda and being a man who would be of no fixed abode, he was likely to be incarcerated during the period he would be appearing in court.
Mr Sikota said had Mr Suraju been in Zambia, he would have already been arrested and as lawyers representing former president Banda, they would have applied that he be joined to the contempt case Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba were in court for.
He has challenged Mr Suraju and his organisation to come to Zambia if they were serious about what they have been saying from their country, stating that the only challenge the lawyers had was that the Nigerians had been making the contemptuous comments from the confines of their country.
“We are challenging them to come to Lusaka if they are serious about what they have been saying in our local newspaper. They came to Lusaka and did not say anything about this. They are now making contemptous statements from the confines of their country. They know they will be arrested if they were to make such contemptuous statements in Zambia and having no fixed aboard, they would have to be in prison. The very reason Mr M’membe and Mr Kabimba are in court is because they sued for contempt for comenting on Mr Banda’s cases which are in the courts of law,” Mr Sikota said.
Over the past few days, Mr Suraju, a Nigerian national and chairman of Civil Society Network Against Corruption in that country has been commenting on the Nigerian oil case which is before the courts of law.
He has also accused President Edgar Lungu of being a protégé of former president Banda claiming that the former head of State bankrolled the Patriotic Front (PF) campaigns in the last presidential election.
Mr Suraju has also accused his Government of having connived with former president Banda and claimed that he would request Nigeria’s President-elect Muhammadu Buhari to consider reviewing his Government’s foreign policy.