28th October, 2022
The Court of Appeal on Friday refuses to order the Federal Government to obey its 13 October judgment ordering the release of leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu from detention.
In a unanimous judgment, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal had on October 13 ended trial of Kanu for terrorism by the Federal Government.
The appellate court had nullified the eight charges bordering on terrorism filed against the IPOB leader in view of his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria from Kenya for the trial.
The court declared that extradition of Kanu to Nigeria was in flagrant violation of the OAU convention and protocol on extradition.
The court also said Federal Government did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before being unlawfully extradited to Nigeria in clear violation of international treaties, thus the charges were incompetent.
The federal government not satisfied with this judgment said that it would explore every legal avenue to quash the judgment of the appellate court and headed to the Supreme Court.
The government after appealing the appellate court’s judgment, filed a stay of execution on the grounds that releasing Kanu would not be in the interest of national security.
After taking arguments from counsel, a three-member panel of justices led by Justice Haruna Tsammani on Monday, reserved ruling in the matter.
Delivering the ruling on Friday, Justice Tsammani held that the Federal Government’s application for stay of execution had merit and ordered that the execution of the judgment be put on hold.
Justice Tsammani, in the brief ruling held that the counter affidavit filed by Kanu’s legal team in opposition to the government ‘s application was misleading.
The judge said that Kanu’s counsel did not properly state the facts of the matter as to warrant the court granting a stay of execution.
The court also ruled that the record of proceedings in respect of the Oct. 13 judgment be forwarded to the apex court within seven days to ensure expeditious hearing.
The Supreme Court has however, not fixed a date to hear the federal government’s appeal against the appellate court’s ruling that discharged Kanu and quashed the terrorism charge against him.
The ruling implies that the IPOB leader will remain in the custody of the Department of State Services pending when the Supreme Court hears the case.
However, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the lead counsel to IPOB said the ruling of the appellate court will be challenged.
Ejiofor said this while giving an update of the Friday’s ruling on his Facebook page.
He said, “Application for the stay of execution of the Judgement of the Court of Appeal,pending the determination of the Appeal filed before the Supreme Court was today, granted by the same Court of Appeal., though presided over by entirely new panel of Justices .
“In granting the application , the Court however directed the parties to settle records and transmit same to the Supreme Court within seven days, to ensure accelerated hearing of the Appeal.
“Be also informed that we will challenge today’s Ruling of the Court of Appeal staying the execution of its judgement after conferring with the Lead Counsel – Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN.
“Without any prejudice to the integrity of the Learned Justices that delivered this Ruling, the fact that Hearing Notice on such a crucial/sensitive Ruling was served on us barely 45 minutes before the time slated for the Ruling, is pregnant with meaning.
“Since the appeal is now to be heard expeditiously, be assured that we will move with speed as always, in adopting the most appropriate legal strategy to ensure immediate review of the decision by the Supreme Court, and the release of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“I urge you all to remain calm, and be rest assured that the Ruling of the Court of Appeal today, did not interfere in any way with the status of its judgement discharging Onyendu.
“The judgement of the Court of Appeal discharging Onyendu and striking out the seven count charge still subsists, it has not been set aside.”