Nnamdi Kanu writes Malami, demands N20bn damages for alleged defamation

THE leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has written a pre-action notice to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister Of Justice Abubakar Malami over alleged defamation.

This is barely four days after the initial N20 billion suit filed by Kanu against Malami was discontinued.

The notice was contained in a letter sent to Malami titled, ‘RE: Pre-action notice and formal demand for settlement of the claim of defamation/libel of the character of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu grounded on your false, defamatory and libellous publications that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu jumped bail.

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The IPOB leader’s lawyer Aloy Ejimakor disclosed this on his Twitter page on Tuesday, November 22.

“Yesterday, I served on AGF Malami a Legal Notice (as required by law), notifying him of my intention to take legal action against him for his defamatory & libellous statements that #MNK jumped bail.”

Ejimakor said Malami’s claim that Kanu jumped bail despite a court order clearing him was libellous.

Parts of the letter read, “In view of the said judgment of the Abia State High Court, your above utterances were false, malicious and reckless, and they were read and heard worldwide and portrayed our client in bad light.

“In view of the foregoing, our client claims against you in the following particulars:

“a. The sum of N20,000,000,000.00 (twenty billion naira only) being general and exemplary damages.

“b. An unreserved personal letter of apology, to be prominently and boldly published full-page in two Nigerian Newspapers of national circulation, namely: Guardian Newspaper and Sun Newspaper.

“You shall write and deliver to your superior officer(s) and/or your employer(s) a Legal Opinion to the effect that our client did not jump bail in view of the January 19 2022 Judgment of the High Court of Abia State.”

Kanu was granted bail in April 2017 on health grounds but skipped bail after defying some of the conditions given to him by the court.

He was later arrested and brought back to Nigeria from Kenya by the Federal Government in June 2021

The IPOB leader has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since June 2021. 

On April 8, 2022, a high court struck out eight of the 15 counts in the terrorism charge. 

The court of appeal later quashed the remaining seven counts on October 13.

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal discharged and acquitted Kanu.

Kanu, who is being tried by the Federal Government on charges bordering on terrorism, was freed by a three-member court panel.

The appellate court set aside the judgment of an Abuja Federal High Court, which ordered Kanu to answer seven out of the 15-count terrorism charge filed against him.

Justice Binta Nyako had, in a judgment in April, 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.

Malami, when reacting to the judgement, said Kanu was discharged but not acquitted, adding that issues on why the IPOB leader jumped bail remain valid for judicial determination.

The Federal Government subsequently filed an application seeking to stay the execution of the appellate court’s judgment, and the court granted the request.

On October 26, a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia state, ordered the Federal Government to return the IPOB leader to Kenya.

The court also ordered the government to pay Kanu N500 million as damages for his illegal abduction and violation of his fundamental human rights.

Last week, the Federal High Court Abuja discontinued a suit filed by Kanu against Malami and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.

Kanu had filed the suit through his Special Counsel, Ejimakor, seeking, among other reliefs, an order of the court directing the defendants to pay him the sum of N20 billion, being general and exemplary damages.

The suit, before Justice Inyang Ekwo, sought to challenge the way Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Kenya.

According to Ejimakor, the suit was discontinued for strategic reasons that would be inappropriate and unprofessional to disclose publicly.

Part of the reliefs sought in the suit include a declaration that Kanu’s arrest and imprisonment at a location in Kenya and the subsequent detention in the aircraft that conveyed him from Kenya to Nigeria amounted to false arrest and false imprisonment.

Also, last week, an Abuja division of the Federal High Court adjourned Kanu’s trial indefinitely.

The presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako, said the court would await the decision of the Supreme Court on appeals that were lodged by both the Federal Government and Kanu’s defence team.

A reporter with the ICIR
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