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The Abuja division of the Court of Appeal has reserved judgment on the appeal lodged by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, seeking to quash the terrorism and treasonable felony charge filed against him by the Federal Government.
Presently standing trial before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court, Kanu through his legal team anchored by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, is challenging the competence and validity of the charges preferred against him.
In his appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022, dated April 29, Kanu argued that since the present charges against him lacked legal competence, he should be discharged and acquitted.
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Before that, he urged the appellate court to carry a review on the April 8 ruling of the Federal High Court, which struck out only eight out of the entire 15-count charge.
During the court session yesterday, Justice Jummai Hanatu, who led three other justices of the court, said it had no need to delve into the issue of bail since the substantive appeal was ripe for hearing.
However, Chief Ozekhome, SAN, in his submission, alleged that his client was forcefully abducted from Kenya and illegally rendered back to the country. He told the court that his client was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and was 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.
It was his argument that under the doctrine of speciality as provided for in section 15 of the Extradition Act, FG ought to have proceeded to try Kanu on the five-count charge he was initially facing before he escaped from the country. He argued that Kenya, being the country from where Kanu was arrested and extraordinarily renditioned back to Nigeria, ought to have authorised his extradition.
‘This allegation of his forceful abduction and rendition was never denied by the respondent. More so, 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.
On his part, the Federal Government, through its 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. He argued that the charge has been amended seven times, owing to the conduct of the appellant.