Stay of execution judgment: Nnamdi Kanu drags FG to Supreme Court

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader: trial adjourned till next year

Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB leader

By Ebere Agozie

Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against the ruling of the Court of Appeal staying the execution of the court’s judgment discharging him.

The appellate court had on Oct. 13, freed Kanu of the terrorism and treasonable felony charges preferred against him by the Federal Government.

The three-member panel had in the judgment set aside the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja, which quashed eight out of the 15 counts of the charge preferred against Kanu.

In the unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, the Appeal Court declared as illegal and unlawful the abduction of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria.

The Court subsequently quashed the entire seven charges retained by the trial court against Kanu on the ground that the Federal Government breached all local and international laws in his forceful extradition to Nigeria, thereby making the terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.

The Federal Government applied for a stay of execution order, urging the court not to release Kanu as he was seen as a flight risk and security threat to the country.

The court granted the federal government’s application for stay of judgment discharging Kanu, of terrorism charge.

But Kanu, in court papers filed against the judgment on Thursday, said the court erred in law when it proceeded to hear and determine an application for stay of execution of judgment in a criminal appeal, brought under Order 6 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021, and Section 17 of the Court of Appeal Act of 2004, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.

He added that the Court of Appeal Rules 2021 and Court of Appeal Act, 2004, did not make any provisions for stay of execution of a Court of Appeal judgment in a criminal appeal.

The IPOB leader also said that court erred in law when it failed to properly assess or evaluate or appraise the evidence led by and on behalf of the Appellant and consequently arrived at a wrong conclusion.

He sought for an order restoring the efficacy of the judgment of the court of appeal, which, he noted, has not in any way been set aside by a higher court.

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And for such further order or orders as the court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of the appeal.

Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the lead lawyer to IPOB also confirmed that Kanu has lodged an appeal against the stay of execution granted by appeal court against its own judgment.

He said: “We have appealed to the Supreme Court to set aside the ruling of the Court of Appeal staying the execution of the court’s judgment discharging and placing further bar to any further detention and prosecution of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu on any charge/indictment before any court in Nigeria.

“Recall that on October 28, 2022, a three-man panel of Learned Justices of the Court of Appeal (Abuja Judicial Division) granted an application for the stay of execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, pending the determination of the Appeal filed before the Supreme Court by the Federal Government.

“After a thorough review of the said ruling by our defence team eminently led by foremost leading Senior Advocate of Nigeria – Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), an informed decision was taken by the erudite Senior Advocate and the entire team that the said ruling, which has no foundation in law or facts, placed before the court, should be immediately appealed against, for it to be set aside by the Apex Court.

“Our well-informed position was given a final nod by our indefatigable client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, during my last visit to him.

“We are, therefore, by this medium, informing the general public, and Umuchineke in particular, that we have filed an appeal against the said Ruling of the Court of Appeal delivered October 28, 2022, and will proactively follow up on the administrative process to ensure that both appeals are given [an] accelerated hearing in line with the extant fast track rules of the Supreme Court.

“We shall keep everyone abreast of the development in the appeals as we progress. We respectfully urge you all to still remain peaceful and law-abiding, as always, and rest assured that the ruling of the Court of Appeal now appealed against will be reviewed on merit by learned Justices of the Supreme Court.

“Let us reiterate, for the avoidance of any doubt, that the said ruling did not interfere in any way with the status of the judgment of the Court of Appeal discharging Onyendu.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeal discharging Onyendu and striking out the seven-count charge still subsists; it has not been set aside. Thank you all, and remain blessed, Umuchineke.”

No date has been fixed for hearing in Kanu’s appeal.

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