THE Federal Government has been ordered to pay the sum of N500 million to Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as damages for his illegal abduction and violation of his fundamental human rights.
The order was made by Justice E. N. Anyadike of a Federal High Court in Umuahia on Wednesday.
The court also ordered the Federal Government to return Kanu to Kenya from where he was forcefully returned to Nigeria in 2021.
Justice Anyadike held that the Federal Government failed to disprove the claims of the applicant that he was arrested, blindfolded, tortured and chained to the ground for eight days in Kenya before his extradition to Nigeria.
Kanu had through one of his lawyers, Aloy Ejimakor, challenged his rendition from Kenya to Nigeria in 2021.
“It is a clear violation of his fundamental rights under Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights,” he said.
“I am asking the court to redress myriad of violations that came with the rendition, such as the torture, the unlawful detention and the denial of Kanu’s right to fair hearing as required by law before anybody is expelled from one country to the other.”
The IPOB leader also asked the court to halt his prosecution and restore him to the status quo before his rendition on 19th June 2021.
This judgment is coming on the heels of a Appeal Court ruling which freed the IPOB leader.
The ICIR had reported how a three-member panel of the appellate court on October 13 struck out all the remaining seven charges against Kanu.
The court ruling followed Justice Binta Nyako’s judgment in April, which struck out eight of the 15 counts in the charge preferred against the IPOB leader by the Nigerian government.
The judge, however, held that Kanu had some questions to answer in counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 15 of the charge.
But Kanu filed an appeal to quash the remaining seven counts for lack of merit.
In its ruling, the appellate court agreed with Kanu’s counsel that the IPOB leader was illegally abducted and extra-ordinarily renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria, against both international and local laws.
The panel led by Justice Jummai Hanatu also held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to handle the charges against Kanu as he was not properly arraigned before the court.
“By the illegal abduction and extra-ordinary rendition of the appellant, there was a clear violation of the respondent (Federal Government) to international treaties, conventions, as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights”, the court held.
The court further held that the offenses Kanu was alleged to have committed happened in Kenya and not in Nigeria.
Judgment has been reserved at the Appeal Court in a suit filed by the Federal Government to stop the execution of the ruling.