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Court reserves judgment in Kanu’s appeal seeking dismissal of charges

By Ameh Ochojila, Abuja
14 September 2022   |   4:11 am
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday, reserved judgment in the appeal filed by detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, seeking dismissal of remaining seven-count charge filed against him by the Federal Government.
Nnamdi Kanu

Photo by Kola Sulaimon / AFP

The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday, reserved judgment in the appeal filed by detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, seeking dismissal of remaining seven-count charge filed against him by the Federal Government.

The panel, led by Justice Hanatu Sankey, said it would communicate the date for judgment to parties.

When the appeal came up for hearing, Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, informed the three-man panel of the appellate court that the appeal was predicated on a notice of appeal dated April 29, 2022, while the brief of argument was dated June 20, 2022.

He said the respondent filed its reply brief of argument, dated July 29, on August 3.

The appellant filed a reply brief on August 25, 2022, but deemed consequently filed yesterday, September 13.

Ozekhome adopted his processes and urged the panel to grant the appeal as “one of substance and merit.”

He told the court that the appellant was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and granted bail on April 25, 2017.

He informed the court that agents of Federal Government (the respondent) had launched a military operation, codenamed, ‘Operation Python Dance’ at the appellant’s hometown on September 2017, which forced him to escape out of the country to Israel, then London.

The senior advocate recalled that on June 27, 2021, the Federal Government forcefully arrested Kanu in Kenya and renditioned him back to Nigeria “in the most cruel and inhuman manner.

“On June 29, 2021, the appellant was taken to court by Federal Government, where he was re-arraigned.

“Following the appellant’s preliminary objection to the 15-count charge preferred against him by the Federal Government, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on April 8, 2022, struck out eight counts.

“Our submission is that the remaining seven counts ought to be struck out by the trial court, because, before the time Kanu was renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya, he was facing five-count charge.”

Ozekhome submitted that, going by section 15 of the Extradition Act, “Kanu is not supposed to be charged without the approval of Kenyan government.

He said: “The remaining seven counts cannot stand, being filed illegally without following due process under the rule of specialty as envisaged under section 15 of the Extradition Act.

Reacting, the Federal Government’s lawyer, Mr. David Kaswe, asked the court to dismiss the appeal for lack of merit.