Law/Order

Court of Appeal Orders Release of IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu

The Court of Appeal ordered Mr Kanu’s release from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS), where the IPOB is being held since he was brought back to Nigeria.

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Thursday, struck out the terrorism charges filed against Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by the Nigerian government.

The court struck out all the remaining seven charges against Mr Kanu.

It followed an earlier ruling of the trial judge, Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, in April dismissing eight of the 15 amended counts filed against him by the federal government.

In a judgement on Thursday, the Court of Appeal panel led by Jummai Sankey struck out all remaining charges against Mr Kanu, ruling that the lower court “lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.”

The court held that Mr Kanu’s extradition from Kenya in June 2021 to Nigeria without following the extradition rules was a flagrant violation of Nigeria’s extradition treaty and a breach of the IPOB leader’s fundamental human rights.

It held there was no denial by the Nigerian government’s lawyer, David Kaswe, in the appeal as to the submissions of Mike Ozekhome, Mr Kanu’s counsel, that the separatist leader was “extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya.”

The appellate court held that the failure of the federal government to adequately respond to Mr Kanu’s arguments gave merit to the appeal.

The court further said also the Federal High Court failed to examine the findings of the prosecution as it would not have tried Mr Kanu on the grounds that the IPOB leader was not “illegally brought into the country.”

The charges struck out include the ones instituted against Mr Kanu before he was brought back to Nigeria last year.

It ordered Mr Kanu’s release from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS), where the IPOB has been held since he was brought back to Nigeria.

Background

Mrs Nyako had on 8 April while ruling on the IPOB leader’s preliminary objection challenging the validity of the charge, struck out eight of the 15 counts.

The separatist leader was accused of various offences in the 15 counts, including treasonable felony and terrorism, offences he allegedly committed in the course of his Biafra nation agitations.

The trial judge had ruled that Counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 were incompetent for not disclosing any valid offences against the defendant.

However, in a judgement on Thursday, the Court of Appeal panel led by Jummai Hanatu, held Mr Kanu’s forcible repatriation from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021, was in violation of the country’s extradition law.

The judge had asked the prosecution to proceed to trial on the remaining seven charges, ordering the prosecuting lawyer, Shuaibu Labaran, to file a fresh proof of evidence before May 18, the next hearing date.

The judge, in a separate ruling on 8 April, validated the federal government’s repatriation of Mr Kanu from Kenya to face the charges pending against him in Nigeria.

Below are the full details of the seven charges that were struck out

The judge ordered that the case proceeds to trial on Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13 and 15.

Five of the sustained charges have to do with alleged acts of terrorism, including professing to be a member and leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation, issuing inciteful and deadly threats against individuals, and issuing directives, among others.

Count 15 has to do with the illegal importation of a radio transmitter he declared as used household items in violation of section 47 (2) (a) of the Criminal Code Act. Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Full details of the counts:

Count 1

The prosecution alleged that Mr Kanu, of Afara Ukwu, Umuhahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, as a member of and leader of proscribed IPOB sometimes in September 2021, committed an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people by allegedly making a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with intent to intimidate the population, threatened that the people would die and that the whole world would standstill. The offence is said to be punishable under section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2015.

Count 2

The prosecution accused him of committing “an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism” against Nigeria and its people made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of the court with intent to intimidate the population, issued a death threat against anyone who flouted his sit-at-home order.

Mr Kanu allegedly ordered whoever flouted the order should “write his/her will”, and as a result banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, and fuel stations domiciled in the eastern states of Nigeria must not open for business. Citizens, and vehicular movements, in the eastern states of Nigeria, the prosecution said, were grounded as a result of the sit-at-home order.

The prosecution said the offence is punishable under section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act (2013).

Count 3

The prosecution also alleged that “on diverse dates” between 2018 and 2021 within the jurisdiction of this court, Mr Kanu professed himself to be a member and leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation in Nigeria.

This, the prosecution said was an offence contrary to and punishments under section 16 of the Terrorism Prevision Amendment Act 2015.

Count 4

M Kanu also, allegedly, on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria inciting members of the public in Nigeria in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel.

The offence, according to the prosecution, is punishable under section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.

Count 5

Mr Kanu, also on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, allegedly broadcasted furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people received and heard in Nigeria in furtherance of an act of terrorism, inciting members of the public in Nigeria to hunt and kill families of Nigeria security personnel.

The offence is said to be punishable under 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.

Count 13

Mr Kany also alleged between 2018 and 2021 made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with the intent to incite violence, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, directed members of the public to burn down every federal facility in Lagos resulting in major economic loss to the federal government.

The alleged offences, the prosecution says, are punishable under section 1(2) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment) Act 2013.

Count 15

The prosecution also alleged that on diverse dates between March and April 2015 Mr Kanu was illegally imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisluzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, a radio transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which he declared as used household items.

The alleged offence was said to be contrary to section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act CapC45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Appeal Court terminates Nnamdi Kanu’s trial, orders IPOB leader’s release

error: Content is protected !!