Today’s update about Nnamdi Kanu, the Leader of Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) court case with Nigeria. 14th August 2023.
What is the update on MNK’s case ?
The point is that life has not been fair to Nnamdi Kanu, so you can’t expect him to feel fine for so many reasons. One, he was abducted in Kenya on the 19th of June 2021, tortured for eight days, exposed to all sorts of inhuman treatment, kept in an undescriptive environment like a criminal, and he faced extraordinary rendition to Nigeria. He was taken to court on the 29th of June on a subsisting matter without reference to us, his lawyers. The court made an order that he should be remanded in the DSS facility. It is known to all that DSS is not a conventional facility for remanding people awaiting trial. We have the correctional service centre which is the institution in charge of keeping people awaiting trial until they are convicted. But that is by the way.
We vigorously pursued the charges against him and the FG kept amending the charges. They started from five to seven-counts-charge, then they made it up to 10 and then later 15-count charge. In all these amendments, we kept filing objections to the competence of the charge, and the jurisdiction of the court to hear the matter, on the grounds that there was gross violation of international and domestic laws in the manner he was brought to Nigeria.
Two, the offences disclosed in the charge proffered against him have no true evidence backing them up. These are grounds upon which we objected to the charges against him.
The last charge is the 15-count charge and the court heard our objection to the charge and eventually struck out many of the 15-count charges, leaving the remaining seven. We took the seven to the Court of Appeal and on the 13th of October 2022, the court delivered judgement and consequently, they struck out the remaining charges. The court did not only discharge MNK of the seven-count charge, but it also made a far-reaching pronouncement in the judgement, ordering the government to release him unconditionally and to stop prosecuting, detaining or subjecting MNK to any form of criminal indictment or trial before any court in Nigeria again.
This order was served on the government, and to date, they have not complied with that court order. Instead, the federal government went to file an application before the same Court of Appeal to stay the execution of the judgement delivered. We objected because that sort of application is not known to law. Normally if you want to appeal the judgement of the Court of Appeal, you take it up to the Supreme Court. But another set of judges at the Court of Appeal sat on the application and on 18th of October 2022 delivered a ruling staying the execution of the judgement made by the same Court of Appeal.
Again, the federal government proceeded to the Supreme Court to challenge the Court of Appeal ruling. We have also filed an appeal against that order staying the execution of the order granted by the Court of Appeal. So we have three different appeals pending before the Supreme Court, and the court has set down the matter for a definite hearing on September 14th.
How has this whole situation affected MNK in DSS detention?
You can understand that he is emotionally traumatised. He is in solitary confinement where he has no access to no human beings. They have continued to violate his rights, more so, when a court of competent jurisdiction has freed him. But instead of complying with that order, the government went further to appeal against it. We are not against FG appealing the judgement, but they should have complied with the declarative order of the Court of Appeal that ordered you to let him go. So he is not happy at all.
And we, his lawyers, representing him are not impressed with the manner in which the FG is treating court orders with levity and impunity. It shows that they have no respect for the rule of law and constitutional democracy.
However, we won’t take laws into our hands. We are hoping that the final court of the land will grant us justice come September 14, 2023.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer; Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor.