Nnamdi Kanu vs Buhari govt: IPOB leader loses in ECOWAS Court

The Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, Court of Justice sitting in Abuja has dismissed a suit by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Kanu had dragged the Nigerian government to court over alleged torture, assault and subjection to inhuman treatment by security operatives when he was arrested in 2015.

However, ECOWAS regional court yesterday held that Kanu failed to prove his allegations against the Federal Government.

In a judgment read by Justice Dupe Atoki on Wednesday, the court said Kanu had no reason to conclude that his arrest and detention were unlawful and arbitrary as claimed.

The three member panel of the Court also dismissed Kanu’s request for monetary compensation.

Atoki held that though Kanu has the legal capacity to approach the court to seek redress for any violation of his human rights, he, however, lacked the legal personality to represent the IPOB before the court.

The court further struck out names of the second and third defendants, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the Director-General of the Department of State Service, DSS, from the suit on the premise that they were not signatories to the ECOWAS Revised Treat, thus leaving only the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the sole defendant in the suit.

Kanu had in the suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/06/16, which he filed before the Court on March 3, 2016, through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, claimed that his rights to life, personal integrity, privacy, fair trial, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, personal liberty, freedom of association, private property, right to existence and right to self-determination were violated following his arrest and detention by Nigerian security agents.

He also alleged that he was a victim of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention, insisting that FG confiscated his personal belongings through its agent and demanded monetary compensation in the sum of $800 million US dollars.

However, FG’s lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Abubakar, prayed the court to dismiss the suit which he contended lacked merit saying the country was obliged to enforce the rule of law as stipulated in its Constitution, Treaties and Protocol that included defending the sovereignty of an undivided Nigeria.

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