A Federal High Court (FHC) in Umuahia, Abia State has ordered the Federal Government to return Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Leader Nnamdi Kanu to Kenya where he was forcibly brought to Nigeria in June 2021.
The court also directed that Kanu, who yesterday instituted a fresh suit challenging his continued detention by the Department of State Services(DSS), be paid N500 million by the government in general damages.
The judgment by Justice Evelyn Anyadike elicited jubilation from IPOB members, who described it as a victory over evil.
The IPOB leader had prayed to the FHC to redress his unlawful expulsion or extraordinary rendition from Kenya by the government. He demanded N25bn as compensation.
The suit which was filed in March 2022, has the government, Justice Minister Abubakar Malami, and President Muhammadu Buhari as the respondents.
In her judgment, Anyadike referred to the Court of Appeal, Abuja which on October 13 granted all the eight reliefs sought by Kanu.
She held that the burden was on the respondents to justify their actions, which they failed to do so.
Kanu’s counsel Alloy Ejimakor said the more than two and half hours judgment as ”painstaking.”
According to him, the judgment showed that the court was the last hope of the common man.
Ejimakor said: ” What is the most important in today’s judgment is not the money awarded to us as damages, but the court’s order that Kanu should be restored to the status quo as of June 19, 2021.
“I, therefore, call on the Federal Government to take prompt steps to obey this court order and restore Kanu to the status quo.”
The government made no appearance in court during the judgment.
Some of the supporters of the IPOB leader used the opportunity to call on President Muhammadu Buhari and Malami to obey the judgment of the Appeal Court that discharged Kanu of the charges against him and seek a political solution to its misunderstanding with IPOB.
Also yesterday, Kanu filed an N100 billion fundamental rights enforcement suit against the government for not complying with the October 13 Appeal Court order for his release.
In the suit filed at the Federal High Court Abuja, the IPOB leader asked for his immediate release and payment of N100 billion for the violation of his rights to liberty and dignity.
The originating court process dated Oct. 21 and filed by Mike Ozekhome (SAN) is marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1945/2022.
Kanu said the suit was predicated on provisions of the 1999 Constitution. He, therefore, wants a declaration that his detention from Oct. 13 till date, is illegal, unlawful, oppressive, unconscionable, and unconstitutional.”
He said: “It (continued detention) violates my fundamental rights to dignity of human persons, personal liberty and right to freedom of movement as guaranteed by sections 34, 35, 36, 39, and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.”
Kanu is also seeking an order directing the government and its agents to unconditionally release him from their custody forthwith.
He prayed for an order restraining the respondents from further interfering with his rights or dealing with him in a manner inimical to his fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.