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Court of Appeal frees IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu

Mazi Kanu’s team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome Photo: Ifeoma Nwovu

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, has set free the detained leader of the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

Mazi Kanu is being prosecuted by the Federal Government on a 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism offences.

In a unanimous judgment, the 3-man-Panel of Justices led by Justice Oludotun Adetope -Okojie, held that the 15-count charge preferred against Kanu did not disclose the place, date, time and nature of the alleged offences before being unlawfully extradited to Nigeria which was in clear violation of international treaties as enshrined in Section (1a) of the Terrorism Prevention Act .

Justice Adetope-Okojie held that the Federal Government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested despite the grave allegations against him.

Lawyers of leader of the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in thanksgiving to God after the court Judgement. Photo: Ifeoma Nwovu

The appellate court held further that the warrant of arrest issued by the Federal government against Mazi Kanu only had effect within the country’s border, and did not extend to another country outside Nigeria based on international treaty and obligation.

It therefore held that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to prosecute Kanu on the remaining charges based on lack of territorial jurisdiction.

On the issue that Kanu is a member of a proscribed terrorism organization, the panel held that it would be pre judicial to make an order on the proscription of IPOB since the issue is still on appeal.

The appellate court was of the view that the lower court where Kanu is being prosecuted failed to evaluate the appellant’s submission on forceful rendition from Kenya and failed to make findings on the unlawful rendition, erred in law to have assumed jurisdiction on the charges.

The Court there held that the appeal succeeds and is allowed and that the ruling of Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, delivered on April 8, 2022, is set aside.

It quashed the 15-count charge against the appellant at the lower court and discharged the appellant of all his charges.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, says he has received the news of the decision of the Court of Appeal concerning the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.

A statement issued by the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations in the Office if the AGF, Dr. Umar Gwandu, says Mazi Kanu was only discharged and not acquitted.

It states that the decision of the Court of Appeal is on single issues that borders on rendition and that other issues that predates rendition on the basis of which Kanu jumped bail remain valid issues for judicial determination.

According to the statement, the Federal Government will consider all available options on the judgment on rendition while pursuing determination of pre-rendition issues.

It will also consider appropriate legal options before the authorities that will be exploited and communicated to the public.

Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu; Editing by Chinasa Ossai & Adeniyi Bakare