On Monday, a team of government prosecutors led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. M.B. Abubakar, claimed that Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, refused to appear before the Federal High Court in Abuja for his scheduled re-arraignment.
“My lord, I understand that the defendant declined to come to court today. As of last week, the defendant was intimated of this sitting and he did not object. However, when I called the office this morning, I was informed that the defendant woke up and declined to come to court. All entreaties and pleas were made but he refused to come to court,” the government lawyer told the court.
Kanu’s legal team, on the other hand, said the allegation was strange because Kanu had never concealed his desire to always be in court.
“My lord, this is totally strange to me because this is a person that has never hidden his intention to always be in court. In fact, even in processes we filed at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the defendant said he would want to be present in court for hearing of all the matters,” Kanu’s legal team head, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said.
Kanu is standing trial for an amended seven counts filed against him by the FG. However, the court, led by Justice Binta Nyako, adjourned the case indefinitely.
In an update, Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said: “The court per His lordship Hon. Justice Binta Nyako, is in agreement with us that it lacks the jurisdiction to entertain any further charge against Kanu, in view of the landmark judgment of the Court of Appeal.
“The matter was consequently adjourned sine die pending the outcome of the appeal at the Supreme Court. We are winning! Supreme Court here we come! No going back on ONYENDU’s freedom. Our appeal to set aside the order staying the execution of Onyendu’s judgment will be fixed for hearing any moment from now. We shall keep you all posted.”
On October 13, a three-member Court of Appeal panel led by Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, dismissed the terrorism and treasonable felony charges against the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
After dismissing a seven-count charge pending before Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, the court ordered Mr Kanu’s release.
Mr Adefope-Okojie, argued that Mr. Kanu’s forced return from Kenya to Nigeria in June 2021, was a violation of both domestic and international law.
Rather than complying with the appellate court’s decision ordering Mr Kanu’s unconditional release, the Attorney General’s office, AGF, filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.
David Kaswe filed an application for a stay of execution of the Court of Appeal’s verdict on the separatist leader, Abubakar Malami, on behalf of the AGF.
Kanu was arrested by Interpol in Kenya in June 2021, and immediately handed over to Nigerian authorities and detained at the DSS facility.
An incident that some have referred to as an abduction because the process did not adhere to the letter of the law, specifically the Nigerian Extradition Act, Cap E25, Laws of the Federation 2004.
Extradition is the transfer of an accused from one state or country to another in order to put the accused on trial. It is the formal process by which one nation or state requests and obtains the surrender of a suspected or convicted criminal from another nation or state.
Rendition occurs when extradition is required between sub-national states.
Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, claimed that the Federal Government violated both national and international laws in the action and thus accused the FG of terrorism.
Questions began to be raised about why Kanu was not subjected to extradition proceedings before a court of law in Kenya before being sent to Nigeria.
Furthermore, questions about why Kanu was not extradited to the UK rather than Nigeria remain unanswered, despite the fact that he travelled to Kenya with a British passport rather than a Nigerian passport. It is also worth noting that Kanu had renounced his Nigerian citizenship in 2015 and had since sued the Kenyan government for extradition to Nigeria.