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The Supreme Court is set to deliver its judgment on December 15 regarding the appeal that calls for the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who is currently in detention.
A panel comprising five judges at the Supreme Court, with Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun at the helm, granted approval for judgment following the final arguments presented by counsel for both the Federal Government and the incarcerated leader of IPOB.
Leading the legal representation for the Federal Government was Mr. T. A. Gazzali, SAN, an Acting Director of Civil Appeals at the Federal Ministry of Justice, while Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team was under the leadership of Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Mr. T. A. Gazzali, SAN, Acting Director of Civil Appeals at the Federal Ministry of Justice, spearheaded the legal team representing the Federal Government, while Nnamdi Kanu’s defense was entrusted to Mr. Kanu Agabi, SAN, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
In his entreaty to the court, Ozehkome, SAN, urged for not just the immediate release of his client but also for the court to levy “substantial and punitive charges” against the Federal Government.
‘We urge my lords to uphold our Cross-Appeal in order to do substantial justice to this matter and to the Respondent who has been in detention since June 29, 2021, even after the lower court ordered his release and that he should never be prosecuted again on the same counts.’
‘They are still holding him unconstitutionally. We pray my lords to deliver justice and use this case, just like in Ojukwu Vs State, to demonstrate that no man or government should be above the law,’ Ozehkome, SAN, pleaded.
During his presentation, Gazzali, SAN, the legal representative of the Federal Government, called upon the apex court to uphold the amended argument brief he filed on May 3, 2023.
He implored the court to allow the Federal Government’s appeal, nullify the Court of Appeal’s judgment that led to Kanu’s release, and order the recommencement of his trial on terrorism-related allegations at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Moreover, Gazzali, SAN, pressed the apex court to deny Kanu’s Cross-Appeal.
It is worth noting that the Court of Appeal in Abuja, in a verdict issued on October 13, 2022, had decreed the release of Kanu from custody.
A three-member panel, in a unanimous verdict, also invalidated a 15-count terrorism accusation that the Federal Government had levied against the detained leader of IPOB before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The court conveyed its certainty that the Federal Government had brazenly flouted all established legal standards by coercively extraditing Kanu from Kenya to the nation for the resumption of his trial.
It maintained that the Nigerian government’s arbitrary wielding of power had deprived the trial court of the jurisdiction to carry on with Kanu’s trial.
However, not content with the verdict, the Federal Government decided to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court.
Furthermore, it sought the appellate court’s agreement to postpone the implementation of the judgment until its appeal was resolved.