Nnamdi Kanu trial: Ohanaeze President, Obiozor, appoints Dr Ezeife to lead delegate to trial
Nnamdi Kanu

By Steve Oko

Vacation judge, Justice KCK Okereke of the Abia State High Court before adjourning the suit by Nnamdi Kanu against the federal government, ordered that the case be transferred back to the State Chief Judge for re-assignment as his vacation elapses September 30.

The Judge noted that Kanu shall be entitled to certain reliefs against any party that fails to timely respond to the suit.

He had earlier granted Kanu leave to serve all respondents by substituted means through a publication in two national dailies.

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 “abducted”, and then to Britain where he resides; and also be 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; 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.

While the seventh and eight respondents, respectively, through their Counsel, Mrs C Odukwe, filed a counter-affidavit, the first to the sixth respondents neither appear in court, nor were they represented by any attorney.

Counsel to Kanu had prayed the court to foreclose any further opportunities to the other respondents who did not appear in court to file any other counter affidavit but the judge said granting the prayer would be speculative.

Meanwhile, Igbo socio-cultural organization, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF), has filed an application seeking leave of the Court to file an amicus (friend of court) brief in support of Kanu.

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Similarly, a delegation of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youths Worldwide led by its National President, Mazi Igboayaka. O. Igboayaka, was in the court to solidarise with the IPOB leader, who it said: ” is Igbo hero that cannot be abandoned”.

Igboayaka said Kanu’s persecution was an affront against the entire Igbo race as he committed no crime other than seek justice for the oppressed indigenous people of Nigeria particularly the Old Eastern region.

He pledged the unflinching support of Igbo youths for Kanu, declaring that Ndigbo home and abroad are solidly behind him.

Later in an interview with Vanguard correspondent, Kanu’s lawyer, Ejimakor, expressed optimism his client would get justice in the end.

Ejimakor who appeared for Kanu in company of several lawyers including Patrick Agazie and Wilson Kalu, expressed confidence in the capacity of the Abia High Court to uphold the law by enforcing Kanu’s human rights.

He said that the judiciary remained the last hope of the common man, arguing that in democracy, court orders should be respected by all.

His words: “there is an unbroken chain of federal government’s violations of Kanu’s constitutional rights that started with the lethal military invasion of his home in Umuahia and his flight to safety in 2017 and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in late June 2021.

“At today’s hearing, it emerged that out of the eight respondents, only two – the DSS in Abuja and Umuahia – have filed their reply to the Suit but their processes were filed out of time.

“Nothing was received from the other six respondents, which included the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Nigerian Army.

“It also emerged that an apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has filed an application seeking leave of the Court to file an amicus brief in support of Kanu.

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Responding to a question on the chances of success of the Suit, Ejimakor drew some inspiration from the 17th September 2021 fundamental rights judgment of Oyo State High Court in favour of the Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) against the federal government.

“The Oyo State High Court judgment in Igboho’s case which is similar to Kanu restates the locus classicus on the wide jurisdiction of State High Courts when it comes to enforcement of the fundamental rights stipulated under the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter,” he argued.

Other 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).

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“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.”

Meanwhile, 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 11:20 am 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 a scare in the capital city as motorists and commuters were made to take alternate routes to their destinations.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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