The presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore has condemned in strong terms, the continuous incarceration of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by Nigeria’s secret police.
Kanu has been detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) since his arrest in Kenya and rendition to Nigeria in June 2021.
Sowore disclosed this after attending the trial of the IPOB leader at the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.
Kanu is facing terrorism charges in Nigeria.
He was arrested over his agitation for Biafra and by extension, Nigeria’s breakup.
“Today I attended the continued trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu at the Court of Appeal in Abuja. I met his lawyers, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Aloy Ejimakor and Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor and many others as they concluded arguments asking the appellate judges to quash the remaining charges against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“The unjust incarceration, torture, extra ordinary rendition involved in his trial is clearly a reason Nigeria under the Buhari regime may never achieve peace, progress and prosperity. I’ve met Mazi Kanu in person and I understand him well enough to state that what he wants is justice,” Sowore said.
The Eaglesforesight had reported that Kanu, who is currently facing trial before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, had through his team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), approached the appellate court to interrogate the legal competence of the charge pending against him.
Justice Binta Nyako of Federal High Court Abuja had struck out eight of the 15 counts filed against the IPOB leader by the Nigerian Government.
But Kanu’s lawyers appealed against the ruling of the trial court on April 8 and sought the appellate court to review the ruling and strike out the remaining seven courts pending before the lower court.
The lead counsel for the IPOB leader had insisted that the charge the government entered against his client had no basis in law, in the appeal dated April 29 and marked CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022.
He applied that Kanu should be discharged and acquitted.
Kanu equally urged the appellate court to order his release on bail, pending the determination of his appeal.
Though the appeal was initially fixed for October 11, following an application the embattled IPOB leader filed for abridgement of time, the appellate court brought the matter forward for hearing.
When the matter was called up on Tuesday, a three-man panel led by Justice Jummai Hanatu, said it had no need to delve into the issue of bail since the substantive appeal was ripe for hearing.
Arguing the appeal, Ozekhome alleged that his client was forcefully abducted from Kenya and illegally renditioned to the country.
He told the court that his client was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and later granted bail on April 25, 2017.
“My lords, he was enjoying this bail without breaching the terms. However, he was in his ancestral home when agents of the Respondent invaded his home in September 2017. He barely escaped alive by sheer providence and found himself first in Israel and later in London.
“When the Appellant travelled from London to Kenya, agents of the Respondents, on June 27, 2021, forcefully abducted the Appellant, tortured and renditioned him back to the country without following any extradition process,” Ozekhome submitted.
He argued that under the Doctrine of Speciality as provided for in section 15 of the Extradition Act, the Nigerian government ought to have proceeded to try Kanu on the five counts he was initially facing before he escaped from the country.
“This allegation of his forceful abduction and rendition was never denied by the Respondent.
“Moreso my lords, the charge appears to give the lower court a global jurisdiction over offences that were allegedly committed by the Appellant, without specifying the location or date the said offences were committed.
“There was no need for the lower court to have retained the remaining seven-count charge.
“We are therefore urging my lords to strike out the remaining counts and hold that the Respondent has not established any prima-facie case against the Appellant for which he could be tried,” Ozekhome added.
Meanwhile, the government’s lawyer, Mr. David Kaswe, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit.
He maintained that the IPOB leader was brought back to the country by due process of the law.
According to him, the charge has been amended seven times owing to the conduct of the Appellant.