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Kanu’s rendition from Kenya in order, Justice Nyako rules

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Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High on Friday ruled that the rendition of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was in order.

Mrs Nyako, in a ruling to the rights suit filed by Mr Kanu held that rendition for the purpose of criminal investigation is allowed.

The judge said since Mr Kanu was on bench warrant, the law allowed that anywhere he is sighted, he can be arrested and be brought to face his trial.

“Rendition for the purpose of criminal investigation is allowed.

“In the instant case, there is a bench warrant on the defendant (Kanu). Suffice to say, he is a fugitive before the court,” she said.

The judge, who dismissed Mr Kanu’s move to challenge the terrorism charge, upheld seven counts in the fresh charge filed by the federal government against the IPOB leader.

Mrs Nyako said that the federal government, through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), had been able to establish some allegations against Kanu on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15.

“Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15 show some allegations.

“The court shall proceed to try the defendant (Kanu) on those counts,” she ruled.

After the review of the 15 counts, she held that about eight of the counts appeared to be similar and did not disclose action.

She, therefore, ordered that counts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 13 and 14 should be struck out.

Mrs Nyako also ruled that the order proscribing IPOB as a terror group still subsisted until it was vacated since the issue was still on appeal.

She dismissed the argument of Mike Ozekhome, SAN, counsel for Kanu, that whether IPOB was a terrorist organisation under the Nigerian law or not was still a subject of appeal.

On Mr Kanu’s bail plea, the judge directed counsel to the parties to present their arguments.

Mr Ozekhome, therefore, argued that his client had never flouted any of the bail conditions, but that Mr Kanu only escaped for his dear life during an attack at his residence.

Citing judicial authorities, he said that “until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.”

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He said his client was still innocent until proven otherwise.

“I humbly urge my lord to use your discretion to grant him bail subject to my lord’s condition,” he said.

But lawyer to the AGF, Shuaibu Labaran, disagreed with Ozekhome, contending that Mr Kanu had violated all the bail terms.

He said because the IPOB leader jumped bail, that was why the court revoked his bail and ordered for his arrest anywhere he was sighted.

Mr Labaran further argued that what should be the subject matter before the court was the issue of contempt charge against Kanu and not bail application.

“My lord granted him bail in 2017 on health grounds, but since then till date, no medical record was submitted to the court until he jumped bail.

“What we should be saying is contempt of court because he has flagrantly violated the orders of the court,” he said.

He urged the judge to be guided by her discretion vis-a-vis the circumstances of the case.

The lawyer said in the alternative, Mrs Nyako should make an order of accelerated hearing on the matter so that Mr Kanu could “know his fate one way or the other.”

The judge adjourned the matter until May 18 and May 26 for ruling on Mr Kanu’s bail application and for trial continuation.

Speaking with reporters shortly after the proceeding, Mr Ozekhome told journalists that the remaining seven counts affirmed by the court would be challenged at the Court of Appeal.

On January 19, Mr Kanu challenged the terrorism charge filed by the federal government against him, arguing that the amended 15-count charge preferred against him was unmeritorious and should be thrown out by the court.

The IPOB leader, through his lawyer, Mr Ozekhome, on Thursday, filed N50 billion damages against the federal government and the AGF over his alleged abduction in Kenya and continued detention.

Mr Kanu had requested N100 million as compensation for the cost of the action at the Federal High Court in Abuja in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/462/22 dated March 7.

The applicant argued that his “abduction and rendition to Nigeria without extradition proceedings or hearing in Kenya is a clear violation of Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9, LFN 2004.”

He said it also “violates Article/part 5 (a) of the African Charter’s Principles and Guidelines on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

(NAN)

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