A’Court puts Kanu’s freedom on hold


The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday ordered that the execution of its judgement which faulted the extradition of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, from Kenya to Nigeria and set aside the terrorism charges against him be put on hold.

It also asked that the Supreme Court should expedite hearing in the Federal Government’s appeal against its judgment which discharged Kanu of the terrorism charges brought against him.

Consequently, it ordered its registry to compile and transmit to the Supreme Court within seven days the record of appeal in respect of the judgment delivered on October 13 and ordered the affected counsel to settle the records immediately for transmission to the Supreme Court.

The appellate court had on Thursday, October 13, 2022, 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 judgement delivered by Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, the Appeal Court declared as illegal and unlawful the abduction of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria and quashed the entire seven charges retained by the trial court against him on the ground that the Federal Government breached all local and international laws in the forceful extradition of Kanu 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.

However, Justice Haruna S. Tsammani, in the ruling on Friday , held that the counter affidavit filed against the Federal Government’s application by Kanu’s legal team was misleading.

“On that note, it is my view, which I hold, that this application is meritorious. Therefore, the sole issue raised by the application is hereby resolved in favour of the applicant. The application is accordingly granted and I hereby order as follows: that the execution of the judgment delivered by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on the 13th day of October, 2022, in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 between: Nnamdi Kanu Versus The Federal Republic of Nigeria is hereby stayed pending the hearing and determination of the appellant’s/applicant’s appeal against the said judgment by the Supreme Court,” Justice Tsammani. said.

Kanu’s release will bring peace in S’East, says counsel

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Meanwhile, counsel to the leader of the proscribed separatist group, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said that the immediate release of the embattled IPOB leader from the custody of the Department of State Services would bring “unprecedented peace to the South-East region”  and end the incessant sit-at-home imposed on the region since his incarceration.

Speaking with one of our correspondents on Friday, Ejiofor said anyone who alleged that Kanu constituted a security threat to the country was a mischief maker.

He said, “Kanu’s freedom will impact the lives of the Igbo people who sit at home every Monday. They are not being compelled to do so but they do it in solidarity with Kanu who has been detained illegally and unlawfully. So, the fact that he is being allowed by the court to have a breath of fresh air today is a positive impact on the lives of the residents of the South-East, who will resume work on Monday. It is fundamental.”

Similarly, the Nigerian Bar Association, Section on Public Interest and Development Law, said the Federal Government was guilty of human rights violation.

The Chairman, NBA-SPIDEL, Monday Ubani, said the government had no reason to delay the release of Kanu, adding that the court judgement should be obeyed.

 “The President himself has promised here and abroad that Nnamdi Kanu’s matter is a thing that he feels that only the judiciary should handle and he doesn’t want to interfere. Is he not interfering with the judiciary process? Does that not make him look like a liar, lying to the international community and the local people that he doesn’t want to interfere? But now, he is interfering. The court has given a ruling,” Ubani added.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Olatunde Adejuyigbe, said the attempt by the Federal Government to apply for a stay of execution on the matter was invalid because the court had struck out all the charges against Kanu.

He said, “The judgement of the court must be complied with. However, in saying that, you have to be mindful of the fact that the Federal Government, like any other party, can also appeal to the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the Coalition of United Political Parties, Ikenga Ugochinyere, has slammed the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), over the continued detention of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Ugochinyere said, “This development is also an indication that President Buhari is calling the Igbo fools. It is surprising that the President can sanction this reckless and illegal action of his men and agencies despite saying openly many times that only the court would determine Mazi Kanu’s fate. A government that does not respect the Igbo and their leaders should not be rewarded with votes.”


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