Nnamdi Kanu )
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, yesterday, reserved judgement in an appeal brought by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, seeking to quash the terrorism and treasonable felony charge slammed on him by the Federal Government. Kanu is facing trial before a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja over alleged terrorism. But he had, however, through his counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), approached the appellate court tochallengethelegalityof the charge against him. Heisprayingtheappellate courttoreviewtheApril8ruling of the trial court which struck out only eight out of the 15-count charge. Submitting that the charge FG filed against him had no basis in law, Kanu, in his appeal dated April 29 and marked CA/ABJ/ CR/625/2022, applied to be discharged and acquitted.
Though the appeal was initially fixed for October 11, however, following an application, the embattled IPOB leader filed for abridgement of time, the appellate court brought the matter forward for hearing. When the matter was mentioned, a three-man panel led by Justice Jummai Hanatu, said it had no need to delve into the issue of bail since the substantive appeal was ripe for hearing. Heinformedthecourtthat his client was first arraigned onDecember23,2015and was later granted bail on April 25, 2017.
“My lords, he was enjoying this bail without breaching the terms. However, he was in his ancestral home when agents of the respondent invaded his home in September 2017. He barely escaped alive by sheer providenceand found himself first in Israel and later in London. “When the appellant travelled from London to Kenya, agents of the respondents, on June 27, 2021, forcefully abducted the appellant, tortured and renditioned him back to the country without following anyextraditionprocess,” Ozekhome submitted. He averred that under the Doctrine of Specialty as provided for in section 15 of the Extradition Act, FG, ought to have proceeded to try Kanu on the five-count charge he was initially facing before he escaped from the country, adding: “This allegation of his forceful abduction and rendition was never denied by the respondent.
“More so my lords, the charge appears to give the lower court a global jurisdiction over offences that were allegedly committed by the appellant, withoutspecifying the location or date the said offences were committed. “We are, therefore, urging my lords to strike out the remaining counts and hold that the respondent has not established any prima facie case against the appellant for which he could be tried.” TheFederalGovernment, through its counsel, David Kaswe, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for wantof merit, arguing that the IPOB leader was brought back to the country by due process of the law. “My lords, it took four years and huge resources to get the respondent arrested and brought back to face the charges against him.