IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu Discharged And Acquitted
IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu has been discharged and acquitted. The court of Appeal sitting in Abuja yesterday dismissed the 15-count charge of terrorism against the leader of the indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB.
While delivering the unanimous judgement by the three man panel headed by justice Jummai Hanatu discharged the leader and acquitted him of all the allegation level against him and order his release fro the unlawful detention.
The court was quoted saying that it was satisfied that FG fragrantly violated all the known laws. The forceful rendition of kanu from kenya is illegal and unlawful.
The court absolutely held that the extra-ordinary rendition of the leader without due process contravenes the law and also a gross violation of international conventions and guidelines. The court also say it violate the breach of the appellant’s fundamental human rights.
The lead judgment was delivered by justice Oludotun Adetope-Okojie. He noted that the FG failed to refute the allegation that the IPOB leader was in kenya and that he was abducted and brought back to the country without any proper proceedings.
It held that FG was “ominously silent on the issue”, which it described as very pivotal in determining whether the trial court would still have the jurisdiction to continue with the criminal proceeding before it.
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“In law, that is a costly failure and such failure is an admittance by the Respondent.“Where a party fails to controvert a deposition by an opponent, the issue not contested is deemed conceded”, the court held, adding that the onus was on FG to prove the legality of the Appellant’s arrest and return from Kenya.
The court also held that Nigeria been signatory to the organization of African Union, OAU that is dully ratified as well as the Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, which it states how a person can be transferred from one country to another.
It held that any extradition request must be in writing, with a statement indicating offences for which a person is wanted.
The court said that Federal Government action tainted the entire process it initiated against Nnamdi Kanu and thus amounted to an abuse of criminal prosecution.
“The court will never shy away from calling the Executive to order when it tilts towards Executive recklessness”, the appellate court held, even as it accused FG of engaging in “serious abuse of power”.
The court further say that going by basic ingredients of the offense, the Federal High Court in Anambra should be the appropriate court with territorial jurisdiction to entertain the case.
The appellate court said it would be pre-judicial for it to make an order on the proscription of IPOB since the issue is still on appeal. It also held that the proscription order of the lower court would definitely subsist until it is set-aside.
“On the whole, this appeal succeeds and it is allowed. The ruling of trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court delivered on April 8 is hereby set-aside.
“The 15-count charge against the Appellant at the lower court is hereby struck out.
“The Appellant is hereby discharged and acquitted”, the appellate court held.
The IPOB leader, who has been in detention for over 14 months following his re-arrest in Kenya, had through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, approached the appellate court to quash the charges against him.Specifically, he prayed the appellate court to review the April 8 ruling of the Federal High Court in Abuja, which struck out only eight out of the 15-count charge FG preferred against him.
Kanu, in his appeal marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022, contended that the charge was legally defective and incompetent, even as he applied to be discharged and acquitted.
Arguing the appeal on September 13, Ozekhome, alleged that his client was forcefully abducted from Kenya by security operatives, blindfolded and illegally renditioned back to the country.
He told the court that his client was first arraigned on December 23, 2015 and was later granted bail on April 25, 2017.