Court reserves judgment in Kanu’s suit against FG
Abia State high court, sitting in Umuahia has reserved judgment in the suit filed by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu indefinitely.
The trial judge, Benson Anya, reserved the judgment indefinitely and declared that the date would be communicated to parties when it’s ready.
This followed the adoption of written addresses by counsel representing parties in the suit marked HIN/FR/14/2021.
The IPOB leader had through his counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, filed the suit on August 27, 2021, challenging his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria from Kenya in June 2021 and praying for compensation for the alleged infringement on his rights.
Respondents on the suit are the Federal Government; the Attorney General of the Federation, Chief of Army Staff, Brigade Commander, 14 Brigade, Nigerian Army Ohafia, Abia state; Inspector General of Police; Commissioner of Police Abia state; Director-General, State Security Services and Abia State Director, State Security Services.
The suit, among others, sought the stoppage of Kanu’s prosecution, his release from detention including the declaration of his (Kanu’s) extraordinary rendition as illegal.
A vacation judge, K. C .J Okereke had started hearing before it was re-assigned to Justice Anya, having not been concluded by Justice Okereke during the vacation.
Addressing the court during the adoption of written addresses, Ejimakor emphasised that “the suit is aimed at barring the prosecution of Kanu and securing his release from detention, because the opposite will amount to rewarding the government for the injustice inherent in the illegal rendition of Kanu.”
He cited the Constitution, case law and other authorities to buttress his points.
But in their counter-arguments, counsel to the respondents, namely Simon Enoch (for the AGF), Omo Osagie (for the police), Amos Tori (for the Army) and Mrs. C. Odukwe for the DSS, raised preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the state high Court to entertain matters pertaining to the Federal Government.
Tori specifically faulted Kanu for demanding N5 billion compensation from the Chief of Army Staff, instead of the Army Council.
The claimant had prayed the court in his application to declare that the “military invasion of the applicant’s building and premises at Isiama, Afaraukwu Ibeku, Abia State on September 10, 2017, by the respondents or their agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of his fundamental right to life, the dignity of his person, his personal liberty and fair hearing as guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, including his arrest in Kenya without due process of law.”
The suit further urged the court to declare that the expulsion of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria by the respondents or their agents and his ongoing detention and prosecution at the federal high court Abuja is illegal.