JUST IN: Appeal Court frees Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader: trial adjourned till next year

The detained IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu

The Abuja Division of Court of Appeal on Thursday struck out the terrorism charges filed against the detained leader of of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Nnamdi Kanu.

A three-member panel of the court of appeal held that Kanu’s extradition from Kenya to Nigeria to stand trial was illegal and therefore, his trial for terrorism cannot stand in a judgment delivered by Justice Adebola.

Kanu was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and was later granted bail on April 25, 2017. However, he jumped bail and escaped from the country.

HHe was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony preferred against him by the federal government after he was extradited into the country from Kenya last year.

But eight of the 15 charges were struck out by Justice Binta Nyako of Federal High Court. Thereafter, the court ordered Kanu to respond to the remaining seven count charges bordering of terrorism.

But Kanu, faulted the order that he should respond to the seven charges and approached the Appeal Court to quash the charges.

In arguing the appeal, Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told the three-member panel that Kanu was first arraigned on Dec. 23,2015, and granted bail on April 25, 2017.

He explained further that agents of federal government (the respondent) had launched a military operation, code named “Operation Python Dance” at the appellant’s home town in September 2017, which forced him to escape out of the country, to Isreal, then London.

He recalled that on June 27 2021, the federal government forcefully arrested Kanu in Kenya and renditioned him back to Nigeria in most cruel and inhuman manner”.

“On 29 June, 2021, the appellant was taken to court by the federal government, where he was rearraigned.

“Following the appellant’s preliminary objection to the 15-count charge preferred against him by the federal government , the trial judge, Justice Nyako of the Federal Hight Court Abuja, on April 8, 2022, struck out eight counts.

“Our humble submission is that the remaining seven counts ought not to be retained by the trial court because, before the time Kanu was renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya, he was facing five-count charge”.

Ozekhome submitted that, going by Section 15 of the Extradition Act, “Kanu is not supposed to be charged without the approval of Kenyan government.

“The remaining seven counts, cannot stand, being filed illegally without following due process under the rule of specialty as envisaged under Section 15 of the Extradition Act.

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“Counts one, two, three, four, five and eight which were retained by the Federal High Court, were offences allegedly committed by the appellant (Kanu) before his forceful rendition to Nigeria.

“These allegations of rendition were never denied by the federal government and you cannot sustain the charge when you extradited the appellant without the approval of Kenyan authority.

In addition, Ozekhome argued that when charging for an offence, “you must mention the particulars and location where the office was committed.

“But in this case, the appellant was charged without stating where the offence was allegedly committed .

Kanu’s lawyer contended that by section 45 (a) of the Federal High Court Act, with regards to criminal charge, the trial court does not have “global jurisdiction”.

More so, “Section 195 and 196 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), state that a charge must have date, time, location etc.

He insisted that there was no need for the FHC to retain the remaining 7 counts, and therefore urged the panel to take over the charges and strike them out.

The senior lawyer also asked the appellate panel to hold that the respondent has not furnished the court with any prima facie case against the appellant for which he is being charged.

But Federal Government’s lawyer, Mr David Kaswe urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

However, the Court of Appeal, in its ruling on Thursday agreed with Ozekhome that the abduction Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria was illegal in a judgment delivered by Justice Oludotun Adebola

The Court also quashed the terrorism charges filed against against him by the Federal Government.

According to the Appellate Court, the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria by the Federal Government makes the terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.

The Court voided and set aside the charges and proceeded to discharge Kanu from the alleged offences.

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