Kanu to spend 3rd Christmas in custody as Supreme Court overturns Appeal Court’s ruling

THE Supreme Court, on Friday, December 15, refused to order the release of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, from confinement.

The Court of Appeal in October 2022 ordered Kanu’s release and dismissed the terrorism charges against him.

However, in its ruling through Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court nullified the Court of Appeal’s decision.

The court said that though the Nigerian government illegally and carelessly extradited Kanu from Kenya, it did not stop any court from continuing a trial.

The court stated that no Nigerian law was mentioned in the lawsuit demanding Kanu’s release on the grounds of his alleged unlawful kidnapping from Kenya. 

It added that the IPOB leader would have filed a civil matter against such an act instead of challenging the powers of courts to continue with his trial for alleged criminal charges.

The Supreme Court ruled in the government’s favour and said Kanu must stand trial before the Federal High Court.

Subsequently, the apex court mandated Kanu to defend himself against the remaining seven counts of terrorism-related allegations against him.

In 2021, Kanu was apprehended in Kenya and returned to Nigeria. Since then, he has been in the States Security State Service (SSS) custody.

In October 2022, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted him.

Kanu, who is being tried 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 him to answer seven out of the 15 counts of terrorism filed against him.

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.

The panel led by 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, not Nigeria. 

    The court ordered Kanu’s release from custody.

    But in a new twist, on October 28, 2022, the Court of Appeal stayed the execution of its earlier order, acquitting Kanu of all charges and directing his release from custody.

    This development forced the IPOB leader to file an appeal at the Supreme Court.

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