THE Supreme Court on Thursday, April 27, adjourned hearing in an appeal filed by Nnamdi Kanu to challenge his continued detention.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, had on November 3, 2022, filed an appeal at the Supreme Court against a ruling of the Court of Appeal which halted his release from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS).
The Court of Appeal had on October 28, 2022, following a motion by the Federal Government, stayed the execution of its earlier order acquitting Kanu of all charges and directing his release from the custody of the DSS.
The IPOB leader is challenging the Court of Appeal decision at the Supreme Court and at the hearing of the appeal on Thursday, before adjourning proceedings, the apex court granted leave to the Federal Government to bring nine new grounds of appeal against Kanu.
A five-member panel led by Justice John Okoro granted the leave for the government to bring the nine new grounds while ruling on the request made by Tijani Gadzali, the Federal Government’s lawyer.
Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, urged the court to grant bail to his client and transfer him to the Kuje Correctional Centre for proper medical care due to the deterioration of his health in DSS custody.
He also prayed that the motion be heard quickly.
The Federal Government’s lawyer requested a postponement in order to file a counter affidavit to the motion to transfer Kanu out of the custody of the DSS, saying he had just taken over the case.
The court instructed Ozekhome to withdraw the pending motions so that he may concentrate on the main appeal because hearing the motion, particularly that requesting Kanu’s transfer, may likely delay the hearing of the main appeal.
The court then scheduled a hearing on the ongoing motion and the main appeal for May 11.
In October 2022, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted Kanu.
Kanu, who the Federal Government is trying on charges bordering on terrorism, was freed by a three-member panel of the court.
The appellate court set aside the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court, which ordered Kanu to answer seven out of the 15 counts of terrorism filed against him.
Justice Binta Nyako had, in a judgment in April 2022, struck out eight of the 15 counts in the charge preferred against the IPOB leader.
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, through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome, filed an appeal to quash the remaining seven counts for lack of merit.
In its ruling in October 2022, the Court of Appeal agreed with Kanu’s counsel that the IPOB leader was illegally abducted and extra-ordinarily renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria, against international and local laws.
“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 panel led by Justice Jummai Hanatu also held that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to handle the charges against Kanu, as he was not adequately arraigned before the court.
The Court of Appeal further held that Kanu’s alleged offences happened in Kenya and not in Nigeria. The court ordered Kanu’s release from custody.
But in a new twist, the Court of Appeal, on October 28, 2022, stayed the execution of its earlier order acquitting Kanu of all charges and directing his release from custody, a development which forced the IPOB leader to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.