The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, granted the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, the permission to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Department of State Service, DSS, to allow him to have unhindered access to his medical doctor.
Trial Justice Binta Nyako gave the ruling after she heard an ex-parte application the embattled IPOB leader filed through his team of lawyers led by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN and Sir Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
While adjourning the matter till February 21, the court, directed Kanu’s legal team to serve all the relevant processes on both the DSS and its Director General, who were cited as 1st and 2nd Respondents in the matter.
Kanu, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, said he would need his doctors to conduct an independent examination to ascertain his state of health.
Specifically, he is praying to the court for an order, granting him leave to, “apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to allow the Applicant unhindered access to his medical doctors to enable them to conduct an independent examination of his present deteriorating health condition, as earlier ordered by the Federal High Court, Abuja, Coram, Hon. Justice B.F.M. Nyako, on the 21st day of October 2021; and as required by the express provisions of section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017”.
As well as, “an order of this Honourable Court granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to avail the Applicant with all his medical records, from the 29th day of June 2021, till date”.
Kanu listed some of the records he would require from the DSS, including; his admission records, medical and clinical notes, nursing notes, observation charts and documentation during treatment or stay-in-hospital, laboratory test results, pharmaceutical records, radiological scans, images and reports, blood transfusion records, physiotherapy and rehabilitative treatment records, clinical findings, as well as diagnosis and treatment prescribed records.
On grounds upon which he filed the application, Kanu, noted that trial Justice Nyako had on October 21, 2021, ordered that he should be allowed access to three persons of his choice, including his medical doctors.
Kanu argued that section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, provided that a person arrested, detained or undergoing, custodial investigation, shall have the right to demand a physical and psychological examination by an independent and competent doctor of his own choice after interrogation, which shall be conducted outside the influence of the Police or security forces.
“The Respondents have repeatedly denied the Applicant access to medical doctors of his choice to independently examine him, contrary to the order of the court made on the 21st October, 2021; and the express provisions of Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017”, he added.
In a verifying affidavit that was deposed to by one Chimmuanya Emenari, Kanu told the court that prior to the time he was arrested abducted in Kenya and extra-ordinarily rendered back to Nigeria, he visited a Specialist Cardiologist every week for medical examination and treatment.
“Medical Reports containing the medical history of the Applicant as was issued by medical specialists managing the Applicant before his abduction in Kenya and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria are hereby attached and variously marked as Exhibits MNK 3, MNK 4 and MNK 5.
“That notwithstanding the fact that the Applicant has been discharged by the appellate court and his further detention prohibited, the Applicant is still being held in solitary confinement in the custody of the Respondents, where he is exposed to daily mental and psychological torture and degradation of his human person”.
Kanu alleged that upon his “abduction” in Kenya, he was subjected to various forms of brutal torture and inhuman treatment and degradation, all of which worsened his health condition, pursuant to which he suffered a mild cardiac arrest before he was “smuggled back into Nigeria”.
“The Applicant’s health condition has continued to take a downward spiral since then.
“That various medical personnel that attended to the Applicant whilst in custody, had repeatedly informed him that they could not ascertain the reason for the depletion of potassium in the Applicant’s blood.
“That on various occasions, the medical personnel brought by the Respondents took the Applicant’s blood sample and allegedly transported same to South Africa for screening and up till the present, there is no end in sight for their trial-and-error medicare.
“That all medical experts that have so far attended to this complex health situation of the Applicant failed to medically fathom the explanation for the continued failure of various treatments so far given to the Applicant, hence their inquiries as to whether the Applicant may have been injected with a dangerous substance by those that abducted him in Kenya before being forcibly smuggled into Nigeria.
“That the medical personnel attending to the Applicant in the custody of the Respondents are oblivious of the cause of the Applicant’s health condition and are basically using the Applicant as a guinea pig while carrying out a trial-and-error exercise, as they keep changing his drugs and increasing the dosage without any improvement whatsoever in his health condition. Attached and marked as Exhibit MNK 6 is a copy of the Applicant’s medical report issued by the Respondents.
“That the full medical history of the Applicant as contained in his Medical file with the detaining authority were deliberately suppressed, as the facts of the speedy depletion in his potassium content was clearly deleted from the medical report which the Respondents issued to the Applicant.
“That the Applicant’s doctor- Dr. CFine Okorochukwu, who had gone to visit him on the 29th August, 2022, and 1st and 15th September, 2022, respectively, was denied access to him, by the Respondents, in flagrant disregard to the Order of the trial court, made on the 21st day of October, 2021, which order directed that the Applicant should be allowed access to three persons of his choice, which persons includes his doctors. Attached and marked as Exhibit MNK8 are copies of the letters forwarding the name of the Doctor to the Respondents.
“That following the continued refusal of the Respondents to allow the Applicant access to his medical doctor, on the 12th of December, 2022, the Applicant through his lead Counsel- Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN – wrote to the Respondents and demanded that the Applicant be given unhindered access to his own medical doctors; and further, for the Applicant’s comprehensive medical records. A copy of the said letter is hereby attached and marked as Exhibit MNK9.
“That the Respondents roundly ignored the Applicant’s request to be availed of his medical records, and access to his doctors”.
Kanu told the court that though the DSS refused to avail him with his medications despite his deteriorating health condition, on account of paucity of funds, it rejected N1million that was raised by his family.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had on October 13, 2022, quashed a 15-count terrorism charge the Federal Government entered against Kanu, even as it discharged him.
Following an appeal FG lodged before the Supreme Court, the appellate court, on October 28, 2022, granted a stay of execution of its judgement to await the decision of the apex court.