Nnamdi Kanu: Nigeria to consider ‘legal options’ after court frees IPOB leader
The Nigerian government said it will consider other legal options after a court acquitted Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), of all pending charges.
“The Federal Government will consider all available options open to us on the judgment on rendition while pursuing determination of pre-rendition issues,” Nigeria’s justice minister and attorney-general Abubakar Malami said in a statement by his spokesman Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.
“Let it be made clear to the general public that other issues that predates rendition on the basis of which Kanu jumped bail remain valid issues for judicial determination.”
Kanu was arrested in October 2015 by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.
The IPOB leader was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons but fled Nigeria in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State. He was later sighted in Israel.
Due to Kanu’s continued absence from court, the judge separated his trial from that of his four co-defendants in 28 March 2018. One year after in 28 March 2019, the judge ordered Kanu’s arrest and directed that his trial on charges of treasonable felony would proceed in his absence.
The case against the IPOB leader did not make any progress until he was arrested abroad and brought back to the country by the Nigerian government in June 2021.
The government filed amended charges raising the number of counts from seven to 15 to incorporate terrorism offences he allegedly committed through broadcasts while he was abroad.
However, Kanu pleaded not guilty to the charges in January.
The court on Thursday held that the Federal Government breached all local and international laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria in June 2021, thereby, making the terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.
In a judgment of the three-member panel read by the lead judge, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, the criminal charges by the Federal Government against Kanu were voided and set aside.