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Nnamdi Kanu: Court indicts FG on rendition reserves ruling in stay of execution motion

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The court of appeal has reserved a ruling in an application by the federal government, seeking to stay the execution of a judgment which discharged Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), of terrorism allegation.

 

Kanu was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge.

On April 8, the judge struck out eight of the 15 counts in the charge.

But Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome, filed an appeal marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022, praying the court to quash the remaining seven counts for being devoid of merit.

 

Ozekhome alleged that his client was forcefully abducted from Kenya and illegally brought back to the country and thus cannot be made to stand trial.

Delivering judgment in the appeal on October 13, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Hanatu Sankey held that the federal government flouted the Terrorism Act and was also in violation of all known international conventions and treaties to which it is a signatory to guiding extradition process, thus, breaching the rights of the respondent.

 

The court further held that having illegally and forcefully renditioned the appellant, the trial court is stripped of jurisdiction to continue to try Kanu.

Dissatisfied by the judgment, the federal government through the office of the attorney-general of the federation (AGF), filed an appeal against the judgment.

They also filed an application seeking to stay the execution of the judgment.

Earlier at the court session Monday, the court declined to grant an adjournment after David Kaswe, counsel from the office of the AGF, asked for more time to enable him respond to the respondent’s counter affidavits.

 

The court only stood down the matter and reconvened at 12noon.

Moving the application for a stay of execution, Kaswe prayed the court to consider the security situation in the country and especially in the southeast, adding that Kanu is a flight risk.

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“Nnamdi Kanu is a flight risk who had jumped bail and we urge the honourable court to grant our application as prayed,” he said.

“One of the grounds of our application touches on the national security of our country.”

Kaswe submitted that the supreme court had held that human rights can be suspended in the interest of national security.

“If the discharge of Kanu is not stayed, my lord, it will be very difficult for us to be able to lay our hands on Kanu to bring him to face charges of the offences against him,” he added.

 

“There is reasonable intelligence report from security agencies that the enforcement of the judgement of this court may impart negatively on the already declining security situation in the southeast.”

 

Responding, Mike Ozekhome, kanu’s lawyer, criticized the request for a stay, claiming that, in contrast to the government’s lawyer’s submissions, if the order for Kanu’s release is not followed, there would be anarchy and chaos in the south east.

 

Ozekhome further submitted that it is forbidden to stay execution of judgment in a criminal matter.

“This court has made a pronouncement. In fact, the purpose of this application is to overrule the judgment of this court as they boasted. Even if a judgment is wrong, no party has a right to say I will not obey it,” Ozekhome argued.

“It is forbidden to stay execution in a criminal matter because it is like stopping the liberty of a person.”

He added that there is no valid appeal in the first place as the said notice of appeal at the court of appeal was not certified.

The senior advocate also said the federal government is guilty of contempt by keeping Kanu in detention, despite the court order. He said granting their request would amount to validating contempt of court.

 

After listening to the argument of the lawyers, the court reserved the ruling for a date that would be communicated to parties in the suit

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