Nigerian Government Shouldn’t Twist Appeal Court Ruling On IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu – Falana

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, has warned that the Nigerian government’s argument that there are pending charges against the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, at the Federal High Court was a “contemptuous mockery” of the Court of Appeal’s judgment which is binding on all authorities.

Falana warned that the President Muhammadu Buhari led-Nigerian government should not twist the judgment of Court of Appeal on Nnamdi Kanu.

SaharaReporters had reported that a three-man Panel of Appeal Court Justices had on Thursday upheld the appeal of Nnamdi Kanu which sought an order of the court to discharge and acquit him of remaining 7-counts charge bordering on terrorism against him.

Kanu had in his appeal dated April 29 and marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 applied to be discharged and acquitted. Kanu was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and was later granted bail on April 25, 2017.

The Court of Appeal in upholding his appeal, discharged him of all the charges and further declared as illegal and unlawful, his abduction from Kenya to Nigeria and quashed the entire terrorism charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

Shortly after, the Federal Government through the Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) said interpreted the judgment and said that Kanu was only discharged but acquitted.

Reacting to the insistence of the federal government that the IPOB leader had pending charges in court, Falana said that the Court of Appeal’s judgment was binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria by virtue of section 287 of the 1999 Constitution of the Republic.

In a release, Falana said, “In the case of Nnamdi Kanu vs Federal Government of Nigeria, the Federal High Court had upheld the preliminary objection of the defence team led by Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN and dismissed 8 out of the 15-count charge against the defendant.

“In its judgment delivered yesterday the Court of Appeal dismissed the remaining 7-count charge and discharged Mr. Kanu on the main ground that his rendition in Kenya had rendered the entire proceedings in the Federal High Court illegal under the Nigerian Constitution and under international law. Consequently, the Court of Appeal ordered Mr. Kanu’s immediate and unconditional release from the custody of the State Security Service.

“Therefore, the claim of the Federal Government that there are are some pending charges against Mr. Kanu in the Federal High Court is a contemptuous mockery of the Court of Appeal whose judgment is binding on all authorities and persons in Nigeria by virtue of section 287 of the 1999 Constitution of the Republic.”

Kanu had been re-arraigned before a Federal High Court on amended 15 counts bordering on treasonable felony preferred against him by the Nigerian government.

However, on April 8, Justice Binta Nyako struck out eight of the 15 counts.

While ruling on the preliminary objection seeking to quash the charges, the judge said counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 had not disclosed any offence against the defendant (Kanu).

The charges that were struck out below are as follows: “Count 6: Made broadcasts to attack officers of the Nigeria Police Force; Count 7: Made broadcasts in which he incited members of the public to hunt and attack officers of the Nigerian Police Force.

“Court 8: Made broadcasts in which he directed members of the IPOB to manufacture bombs; Court 9: Made broadcasts on diverse dates in furtherance of terrorism against the Nigeria state and with intent to destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria, incited members of the public to stop the Anambra governorship election.

“Count 10: Incited members of the public to destroy public facilities. Count 11: Threatened members of the public not to come out on 31st May, 2021. Count 12: Made broadcasts with the intention to incite members of the public to stage a violent revolution in furtherance of acts of terrorism. Count 14: Directed members of the public to destroy the public transport system in Lagos, resulting in major economic loss to the governor.”

Nyako had said that counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 15 showed some allegations, which the defendant had to answer.

However, Kanu through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome (SAN), filed an appeal marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022, praying the court to quash the remaining seven counts for being devoid of merit.

Sahara Reporters