The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory on Thursday upheld the appeal of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The court also discharged and acquitted the embattled leader of the proscribed group, declaring as illegal and unlawful the abduction of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria on July 9, 2021 and quashed the entire terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The appellate court held that the Federal Government breached all known local and international laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria thereby making the terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.
The Appeal Court in a judgment by Justice Oludotun Adebola on Thursday voided and set aside the terrorism charges by the Federal Government against Kanu.
Kanu had in his appeal dated April 29 and marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 applied to be discharged and acquitted. He was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, but was later granted bail on April 25, 2017.
Dissatisfaction with the Nigerian state and the quest for sovereignty had led the late Biafran leader, Colonel Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, to declare the exit of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria in May 1967.
The declaration led to a Civil War that lasted two and half years as the Nigerian state under the then Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, battled to unify the soul of the country using military might.
The war ended in January 1970 with the South-East region back in Nigeria but the civil war left a ghoulish imprint on Nigerian history with squalid tales of deaths, blood, hunger, horror, sorrow and more deaths.
However, decades later, secessionist agitation resurfaced in the South-East. The agitation, this time, is being championed by Nnamdi Kanu through IPOB.
However, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)’s regime in September 2017 outlawed IPOB and declared that the activities of the group constituted an act of terrorism and illegality.
Before then, Kanu was arrested and detained but was later released from the Kuje Prison in Abuja after meeting bail conditions. The IPOB leader later fled the country and operated from overseas before he was renditioned from Kenya.
IPOB also formed the Eastern Security Network but the security outfit has no backing of the governors of the South-East. It has, therefore, been at loggerheads with state-authorised security agencies like the police and the army.
The police have also accused IPOB’s ESN operatives of being the masterminds of attacks on police stations, prisons and symbols of democracy in the zone.
June 19, 2021 marked the beginning of the incarceration of Kanu by the Federal Government. The PUNCH reports that after jumping bail, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested.
Kanu was apprehended by the International Criminal Police while seeking foreign support for the actualisation of the Republic of Biafra.
The PUNCH gathered that Kanu, who holds Nigerian and British passports, was arrested by security operatives outside his London base.
He had been declared wanted by the Federal Government since 2017 after he jumped bail following the invasion of his country home in Abia State by soldiers.
For years, Kanu had a running battle with the Buhari regime over his quest for the secession of the South-East geopolitical zone.
Kanu was in Kenya when he was arrested and returned to Nigeria to resume his trial. He had a long battle in court before his eventual victory on Thursday.