Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia, Friday reserved judgement on suit brought before it by the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, challenging his “rendition from Kenya, unlawful, detention and subsequent trial by the Federal Government.
Presiding Judge, Justice Benson Anya, after listening to the submissions by Counsels to all the parties to the matter, announced that a date would be communicated later to them for judgement.
Counsel to the various parties had adopted their preliminary objections, written applications and the supporting affidavits before the announcement by the presiding Judge.
Kanu had through his special counsel, Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, sued the Federal Government of Nigeria for his “extra-ordinary rendition from Kenya”.
He demands among other things that he be returned to Kenya where he was “abuducted”, and then to Britain where he resides; and paid N5 billion for the gross violation of his fundamental human rights.
The respondents include: the Federal Government of Nigeria: the Attorney General of the Federation; the Chief of Army Staff; Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade Ohafia; the Inspector General of Police, IGP; Commissioner of Police, Abia State; the Director General of the Department of State Security Services, DSS; and the Abia State Director of DSS.
In his submissions, Ejimakor argued that Kanu’s fundamental rights were violated by the federal government and its agencies by “abducting him from Kenya back to Nigeria without illegally without due process”.
He argued that the federal government should not benefit from “its act of illegality”, and prayed the court to declare the ongoing detention and trial of Kanu illegal and order his release.
But in his submissions, counsel to the Federal Government, and the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Simon Enock, opposed Kanu’s applications and urged the Court to dismiss the suit arguing that the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter.
He argued that Kanu was before now standing trial but allegedly jumped bail and was intercepted in Kenya with the collaborative efforts of intelligence agencies and brought back to Nigeria.
But when asked to explain how Kanu was brought back to Nigeria whether or not there was a process of extradition or he was renditioned which was the issue in contention, the Counsel denied that Kanu was renditioned.
Counsel to the IGP, and Commissioner of Police, Abia State, Mr. Osagie, also opposed Kanu’s applications, arguing that the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the matter.
He argued that the application was a breache of court processes and urged the Court to strike out the matter.
Similarly, Counsel to the Chief of Army Staff, and the Commander Army 14 Brigade Ohafia, Mr. Amos Tori, argued that the applications by the Applicant ” cannot be substantiated against the Chief of Army Staff”.
He further contended that the Chief of Army Staff is not a jurisdical personality, adding that the the Army Council ought to have been joined in the matter for the purpose of paying compensation.
Counsel to the Department of State Services, DSS, Mrs C. Odukwe also urged the Court to dismiss the suit on lack of jurisdiction.
But in swift response, Counsel to Kanu who appeared with Patrick Agazie, insisted that Kanu’s arrest in Kenya did not follow arrest protocols, hence it amounted to “kidnapping by the state”.
He said the suit was not targeted against the Abuja High Court where Kanu is currently standing trial, but “targeted against executive lawlessness”
His words:” It’s ridiculous for the federal government to claim that Kanu was arrested in Kenya on the orders of Abuja High Court as if Kenya is the 37th state in Nigeria. They pursued my client to Kenya who was on a visit to Kenya with British passport and grabbed and renditioned him to Nigeria without due process”
Later in an interview, Ejimakor expressed optimism that his client would get justice, arguing that the matter bothered on infringement of his fundamental rights which the Respondents could not deny.
Cousel to the Army, Mr. Tori, also said he was optimistic of a favourable outcome.
Meanwhile, the President of Igbo Youths, Igboayaka O. Igboayaka who led a delegation of Igbo youths at the court expressed sadness over the heavy presence of security agents around the court premises and the adjourning streets.
He said that the security personnel ought to have been deployed to confront bandits instead of causing unnecessary tension around the city and disrupting free flow of traffic.
Igboayaka said that Kanu was fighting against injustice and had the full backing of Igbo youths both home and abroad, and expressed confidence in the court.
Contrary to the order of the court, heavily armed combined security personnel had early in the morning, barricaded all the routes leading to the premise of the Abia State High Court located at Ikot Ekpene Road Umuahia.
Until around 3:11 pm when the court rose and normal traffic flow restored, human and vehicular movements around the area were hectic as they were being diverted to other routes by the stern-looking but non-hostile security operatives.
The situation caused scare in the capital city as motorists and commutters were made to take ulternate routes to their destinations.
Lawyers, journalists as well as other litigants and staff of the court accessing the premises were subjected to thorough search.
Meanwhile, others prayers by the IPOB Leader include:
“A declaration that the military invasion of the Applicant’s building and premises at Isiama, Afaraukwu Ibeku, Abia State on 10th September, 2017 by the respondents or their agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the applicant’s fundamental right to life, dignity of his person, his personal liberty and fair hearing as guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of Chapter IV of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (hereafter, CFRN) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (hereafter, the Charter).
” A declaration that the arrest of the applicant in Kenya by the respondents or their agents without due process of law is arbitrary, illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against arbitrary arrest, to his personal liberty and to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.
“A declaration that the torture and detention of the Applicant in Kenya by the Respondents or their agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against torture and to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter).
” A declaration that the expulsion of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria by the Respondents or their agents and their consequent detention and planned prosecution of the Applicant in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Nnamdi Kanu) is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against unlawful expulsion and detention, and to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter).
” An order of injunction restraining the respondents or their agents from taking any further step in the prosecution of the Applicant in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Nnamdi Kanu) pursuant to said unlawful expulsion of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria.
” An order mandating and compelling the respondents or their agents to forthwith release the applicant from detention and restitute or otherwise restore applicant to his liberty, same being his state of being as of 19th June, 2021; and to thereupon repatriate the applicant to his country of domicile (to wit: Britain) to await the outcome of any formal request the Respondents may file before the competent authorities in Britain for the lawful extradition of the Applicant to Nigeria to continue his prosecution in Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 (Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Nnamdi Kanu).
” An order mandating and compelling the respondents to issue an official letter of apology to the applicant for the infringement of his fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter of apology in three national dailies.
” An order mandating and compelling the respondents to pay the sum of N5 billion to the applicant, being monetary damages claimed by the applicant against the respondents jointly and severally for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological and other damages suffered by the applicant as a result of the infringements of Applicant’s fundamental rights.”