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The Supreme Court has granted its permission to the Federal Government to file nine fresh grounds of appeal to oppose the release of the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, from detention.
The apex court granted FG’s request to include the fresh grounds in its amended notice of appeal dated October 28, 2022.
The ruling came after an application moved by a government lawyer, Mr Tijani Gadzali, SAN, who equally sought an adjournment to respond to Kanu’s request to be transferred from the detention facility of the Department of State Services, DSS, to the Kuje Correctional Centre.
Gazzali, informed the court that he would need time to file a counter-affidavit, to oppose Kanu’s request.
Consequently, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Inyang Okoro adjourned the case till May 11 for a definite hearing.
It will be recalled that the Court of Appeal in Abuja had in a judgment on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s release from detention.
In a unanimous decision by a three-member panel, the appellate court also quashed a 15-count terrorism charge that the FG entered against Kanu before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
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The court said it was satisfied that the FG flagrantly violated all known laws when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.
It held that such arbitrary use of power by the Nigerian government divested the trial court of the jurisdiction to continue with Kanu’s trial.
However, dissatisfied with the judgment, the FG took the matter before the Supreme Court and urged the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgment, pending the determination of its appeal.
Meanwhile, at the resumed proceedings in the matter, yesterday, Kanu’s legal team led by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, drew the attention of the apex court to an application seeking the release of their client on bail, pending the conclusion of the hearing of the appeal.
Ozekhome said there was a need to also transfer his client from the custody of the DSS to where he could get proper medical attention in view of his deteriorating health.
He, therefore, applied for an accelerated hearing of all the pending applications and the substantive appeal.
Kanu had earlier asked the apex court to strike out FG’s appeal against his release.
Specifically, he applied for an order of the apex court, “striking out and/or dismissing the Respondent’s Appeal No: SC/CR/1361/2022, for want of diligent prosecution” as well as an order setting down his own cross-appeal for hearing.
The IPOB leader contended that going by Section 6 (1) of the Supreme Court (Criminal Appeals) Practice Direction 2013, FG had only 10 days within which to file and serve him with its brief of argument, upon the service of record of appeal.
He further argued that Order 2 Rule 29 (1) & (2) and Order 6 Rule 9 of the Supreme Court Rules, as amended 2014, empowered him to seek the striking out of FG’s appeal for want of diligent prosecution.