Admin l Thursday, October 13, 2022
ABUJA, Nigeria – Relief is now in sight for leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, following the decision of the Appeal Court, sitting in Abuja to discharge and acquit him of all charges.
The IPOB leader who is being tried by the Nigerian government on 15 count charge of treasonable felony, terrorism and others has repeatedly maintained his innocence.
The 3-man panel of the Court of Appeal said the Federal High Court embarked on a futile exercise for assuming trial when it lacked jurisdiction following the abduction of Kanu and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in flagrant violation of the OAU convention and protocol on extradition.
According to the court, the 15-count charge preferred against Kanu did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before he was unlawfully extradited to Nigeria in clear violation of international treaties.
The Appeal Court said the Nigerian government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested despite the grave allegations against him and that the abduction and extraordinary rendition of Kanu from Kenya without due process amounts to violation of his right.
The court explained that the manner in which Nnamdi Kanu was procured and brought before the court was not evaluated by the lower court, before assuming jurisdiction to try him.
Consequently, it ruled that the lower court having failed to address the preliminary objection challenging its jurisdiction particularly the issue of abduction and extraordinary rendition from Kenya to Nigeria, the lower court failed to take cognizance of the fact that a warrant of arrest can only be executed anywhere within Nigeria, the appeal court judgement said.
It ruled that the lower court erred in judgment and breached the defendant’s right to fair hearing and that the African Charter on Human and People’s rights are part of the laws of Nigeria and that the court must abide by the laws without pandering to the whims of the Executive, the appeal court said.
The IPOB leader was initially arrested on October 2015 and arraigned on 11-count charge of “terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”
He was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons. Kanu however fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State and did not attend trial until he was abducted in Kenya and brought to Nigeria.