Abuja, Nigeria – The Appeal Court sitting in Abuja has discharged the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The three-man panel led by Justice Jummai Hanatu upheld that Kanu no longer had a case to answer as the Federal High Court had no jurisdiction to try him in the first place.
Court ruled that Kanu’s arrest in Kenya and forced transfer to Nigeria were illegal because extradition process was not followed. He was said to have been brought into Nigeria illegally.
Kanu’s abduction and extraordinary rendition from Kenya is declared illegal and consequently constitutes a bar to further proceeding /trial.
The Court held that It was done in clear and egregious violation of extant international laws , there is no justification whatsoever even the warrant of arrest issued in Nigeria can not justify the illegality in the abduction and extraordinary rendition of Kanu.
Court further said the federal government failed to disclose the location where Kanu was arrested despite the major allegations against him. Court added that by keeping quiet, it meant that they agreed with Kanu’s claim that he was kidnapped and brought forcibly back to Nigeria.
Court further held that it was against law to detain and try Kanu in any court since he was brought back illegally.
This came after his lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome urged the court to strike out the remaining seven-count charges retained by the Federal High Court after eight out of the 15 were struck out.
Earlier, Justice Jummai Hannatu Saki struck out the motion for an accelerated hearing, saying it had been overtaken by events.
She also kept the bail application for Nnamdi Kanu in the corner, pending the Appeal Court ruling.
The Nigerian government summoned the IPOB leader on a 15 count charge bordering on terrorism, treason, secession and that he was a member of an IPOB group outlawed by the government.
But in May 2022, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court removed some of the charges from 15 to seven.
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja dismissed the bail application of Nnamdi Kanu.
Trial Judge, Justice Binta described the application as a “gross abuse of court process.”
Justice Nyako in her ruling for June 2022 said the suit was an attempt to continue litigation on issues that had been ruled on top.
She advised the applicant to approach the Court of Appeal on the issue of bail.
Justice Nyako adjourned the matter to November 14 for mention and to also know the outcome of the case before the Appeal court.
Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu said he was fighting to defend his people not to kill them.
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra added that the Biafran struggle is about fighting for the people and not about killing the people of the region.
Kanu said this while responding to the outcome of his bail application at the Federal High Court, Abuja in an interview after his trial.
“I am not disappointed, why would I be, it is what we expect to happen, but I want our people to be very calm, I want Biafra land to be peaceful, calm and very very peaceful.”
“We fight to defend our people, not kill them. We fight to defend them, thats why I am here, and we will continue to do so until we have victory.” He said.
On June 27, 2021, security agencies arrested Kanu, the IPOB leader in Kenya.
Since then his trial which attracted the interest of many Nigerians and others around the world has begun for him to face the charges federal government sums against him.
The Seven-Count charges appealed by Nnamdi Kanu
Count 1: That Nnamdi Kanu as a member and leader of IPOB committed an act of terrorism against the federal republic of Nigeria by making a broadcast with intent to intimidate the population.
Count 2: That Nnamdi Kanu as a member and leader of IPOB committed an act of terrorism against the federal republic of Nigeria by making a broadcast with intent to threaten members of the public with a sit at home order.
Count 3: That Nnamdi Kanu made a broadcast where he declared himself a member and leader of Ipob, a group banned by the Nigerian government.
Count 4: Say Nnamdi Kanu made a broadcast where he encouraged members of the public to kill Nigerian security officers.
Count 5: Say Nnamdi Kanu made a broadcast where he encouraged the public to attack officers of the Nigeria police force.
Count 13: Say Nnamdi Kanu made a broadcast where he encouraged members of the public to burn down every federal government facility in Lagos leading to major economic loss to the federal government.
Count 15: That Nnamdi Kanu imported a Radio transmitter known as Tram 50L and concealed it inside a container for Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra.