Legal Battle For Release Of Kanu, IPOB, leader, Moves To Supreme Court

By Lateef Adebite

 The battle line appears to have been drawn between a team of Lawyers, engaged by Nnamdi Kanu, the Leader of the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, to fight for his release from the Department of State Security Service, DSS, custody and the office of Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice, representing the interest of the government. 

The National Security Council, NSC, under the Chairmanship of President Muhammadu Buhari, and the office of the AGF, may have shown that they are not in a hurry to obey   Hajia Jummai Sankay, a Justice of the Federal Appeal Court, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, who gave her Judgment in the Kanu’s case that the IPOB, Leader,should be released.

The government, which may not have found the Appeal Court ruling funny had against the Judgment, meaning that the IPOB Leader would still remain in DSS, custody, until it has exhausted all the Legal processes to forestall the Judgment.

 Recall that in giving her ruling , Justice Sankey , had stated that ‘’the 15 count charge  preferred against the IPOB Leader ‘’did not  disclose  the place, time, and nature of the alleged offenses committed before being unlawfully extradited  to Nigeria in clear Violation of international treaties’’.

Justice Sankay,   in her ruling had said that ‘’the government  failed to disclose  where the IPOB,  Leader was arrested  despite the grave allegations against him’’, noting that ‘’the act of abduction  and extraordinary rendition  of Kanu,  from the East African country of Kenya without due process was a violation  of his Fundamental Human rights’’.

The Federal High Court of Appeal, Justice did not stop there.  She had aid that ‘’the government  discredited itself  when  it relied heavily  on the Organisations of African Unity, OAU, now African Union,, AU, Conventions  on the prevention  and combating of Terrorism, the African Commission of Human and People’s rights and cases decided  from foreign jurisdictions as against  the substantive law covering  the criminal procedure  in Nigeria

Malami, the AGF and minister of Justice, may have headed to the Supreme Court, under the close watch of Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, on October 13, 2022, to show that it was not in agreement with the Appeal Court ruling where it had filled seven grounds of Appeal against   the Federal High  Court Judgment which had  had discharged the IPOB, Leader from the DSS custody.

Justice Aiwoola: CJN

The government had was said the Justice Ariwoola, led Supreme Court,  ‘’to set aside  the Judgment  of the Appeal Court and restore  all the charges preferred against  the IPOB Leader to be tried at  the trial Court’’. The government , according to information that was said to have been made available to Kanu by Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, and his  Lead Lawyer,  is also ’’seeking  a stay of execution  of the Judgment  of the Federal Court of Appeal, presided  over by Justice Sankay, pending the hearing and  final determination  of its Appeal’’.

Ozekhome: SAN And Kanu’s Lead Lawyer

It was said to have claimed  that ’’the Appeal Court that had given the Judgment for the release of Kanu,   was wrong  by saying  that how he  was’’’ brought  back to the country  can vitiate  and indeed weaken  the criminal  charges  of treasonable felony  and terrorism against him’’.

It was said to have stated further in its notice of Appeal at the Supreme Court that  ‘’the Federal Court of Appeal had  overlooked  the submissions  of the appellant  with regards  to the CJA 2015’’ which takes its root  from the  roundworm  section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, as amended, to the effect that that’’ it is the Administration of criminal Justice Act,2015 that governs the trial of  every Nigerian charged  with the Commission  of a crime . It had said the failure of the Appeal Court to understand that ‘’occasioned the miscarriage of Justice’’.

It was said to have added that the Appeal Court gave the Judgment to release Kanu from government’s custody without taking into consideration the fact that ‘’the nature of entry of the respondent is not relevant in the determination of the charges against him’’.

Kanu: IPOB Leader, Described By Gov’t As A Security

 The government  may have come out with such  reasons to justify why the IPOB Leader  could not  released on the Appeal Court Orders, insisting that  ‘’he is a security risk’’.  But Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the IPOB’s Leader’s Lawyer, would not take it. The Lawyer had said that ‘’the only valid option left with the government is to release Kanu, who has been in DSS custody since 2021.

He noted that while the government has the Constitutional right to Appeal against the Appeal Court Judgment that discharged had Kanu from DSS custody, ‘’it must first and foremost , obey the Order of the Court of Appeal directing  for the immediate  and unconditional release of  the separatist Leader’’.

Even Samuel Ortom, a former minister of State, Industries, Investment and Trade, during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s Administration and now governor of Benue state , who had said that if not that he is a member of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP he would have Campaigned for Peter Obi , the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP,for the 2023, general elections  has called on the Federal government to release the IPOB Leader, ‘’as part of the peace building effort in the country’’.

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State

Ortom, who is Nyensom Wike’s, political ally, alongside three other governors, in the fight to force Senator Iyorche Ayu, National Chairman out of the PDP, to resign, to pave way to occupy the position, since Atiku Abubabakar, a former Nigerian Vice President a northerner, is the party’s Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections, had said that ‘’kanu’s issue was a socio-political challenge that could only be dealt with politically’’.

May believe that if Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, had lent his voice to join other well- meaning  Nigerians  to call for the release of Kanu, the separatist Leader,  the Nigerian President  may have released him long ago but he had kept silent.  

Already , he had said that he will continue with the Legacies of Buhari’s Administration, if elected as the next President of Nigeria after the 2023, general  elections, an indications that Kanu would still remain DSS, custody, to face his his trial, if he fails to release him.

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