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Breaking Update: Nigeria Government Appeals Judgment Freeing Kanu

OCTOBER 20 , 2022 | EASTERN PILOT Report By: Eric Ikhilae, Abuja | The Federal Government yesterday took its case against the Indigenous Peo...


Report By: Eric Ikhilae, Abuja |

The Federal Government yesterday took its case against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu to the Supreme Court. It has asked the apex court to stay the execution of the October 13 Court of Appeal judgment that freed the leader of the separatist group. The request forms one of the reliefs in a motion for a stay of execution filed yesterday before the apex court by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

The Nation learnt that the motion contained a seven-ground notice of appeal, in which the Federal Government not only faulted the lower court’s decision, but equally prayed that it be set aside. The appellant argued, among others, that the Court of Appeal erred when it faulted the manner Kanu was brought back to face trial after he jumped bail and fled the country.

It contended further that the Court of Appeal erred when it struck out the pending charge against Kanu on the ground that the trial court no longer possessed the requisite jurisdiction to continue the trial because of the manner Kanu was returned to the country upon allegedly jumping bail. A date for the hearing of the motion for the stay of execution is being awaited.

Last Thursday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja declared as unlawful Kanu’s repatriation to Nigeria from Kenya and his subsequent arraignment before a Federal High Court in Abuja for the continuation of his trial on pending terrorism charges. The three-member panel of the court also quashed the terrorism charge brought against him by the Federal Government, pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The Appeal Court was of the view that the Nigerian government breached all known local and international laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria, thereby making the terrorism charge against him incompetent and unlawful. The judgment was on an appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 filed by Kanu against an earlier ruling by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

In the lead judgment, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie declared as illegal and unlawful Kanu’s abduction from Kenya and his subsequent return to Nigeria. Justice Adefope-Okojie proceeded to quash the remaining seven counts in the 15-count charge filed by the Federal Government. Justice Nyako of the Federal High Court had, in an earlier ruling, quashed eight out of the 15 counts. Justice Adefope-Okojie held that the Nigerian government violated all laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria, thus invalidating the charges.

“By the illegal abduction and extra-ordinary rendition of the appellant, there was a clear violation, by the respondent (Federal Government) of international treaties, conventions, as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights,” she said. Justice Adefope-Okojie added that having flagrantly breached Kanu’s fundamental rights, the Federal Government lost the legal right to put him on trial. She held that the trial court, therefore, lacked the jurisdiction to try the appellant on the retained counts of the charge. “No court can try him going by the circumstances of the extraordinary rendition,” she said.

Justice Adefope-Okojie said: “Having resolved issue one in favour of the appellant, which deals with jurisdiction, the appeal succeeds. The order of Justice Binta Nyako which ordered the appellant to answer to counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15 is set aside, terminated and dismissed. “Appellant is accordingly discharged,” Justice Adefope-Okojie said.


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