Appeal Court reserves judgment in Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal
The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, challenging the terrorism charge filed against him by the federal government.
On Tuesday, the appellate court announced that its date for judgement would be communicated to parties in the suit.
Mr Kanu had faulted the order of Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, which said he should respond to seven out of the 15 count terrorism charge against him and had approached the court to set aside the order.
However, after listening to the arguments, presiding Justice Hanatu Sankey said, “judgement has been reserved to a date that will be communicated to parties”.
In arguing the appeal, Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told the three-member panel that the IPOB leader was first arraigned on December 23, 2015, and granted bail on April 25, 2017.
He explained further that agents of the federal government (the respondent) had launched a military operation, code-named “Operation Python Dance”, at the appellant’s home town in September 2017, which forced him to escape out of the country to Israel, then London.
He recalled that on June 27 2021, the federal government forcefully arrested Mr Kanu in Kenya and renditioned him back to Nigeria in the most cruel and inhuman manner”.
“On 29 June 2021, the appellant was taken to court by the federal government, where he was re-arraigned.
“Following the appellant’s preliminary objection to the 15-count charge preferred against him by the federal government, the trial judge, Justice Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, on April 8, 2022, struck out eight counts.
“Our humble submission is that the remaining seven counts ought not to be retained by the trial court because, before the time Kanu was renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya, he was facing a five-count charge”.
Mr Ozekhome submitted that going by section 15 of the Extradition Act, “Kanu is not supposed to be charged without the approval of the Kenyan government.
“The remaining seven counts cannot stand, being filed illegally without following due process under the rule of speciality as envisaged under section 15 of the Extradition Act.
“Counts one, two, three, four, five and eight, which were retained by the Federal High Court, were offences allegedly committed by the appellant (Kanu) before his forceful rendition to Nigeria.
“These allegations of rendition were never denied by the federal government, and you cannot sustain the charge when you extradited the appellant without the approval of Kenyan authority,” he argued.
In addition, Mr Ozekhome argued that when charging for an offence, “you must mention the particulars and location where the office was committed, but in this case, the appellant was charged without stating where the offence was allegedly committed.”
Mr Kanu’s lawyer contended that by section 45 (a) of the Federal High Court Act, with regards to criminal charges, the trial court does not have “global jurisdiction”.
He insisted that there was no need for the FHC to retain the remaining seven counts and, therefore, urged the panel to take over the charges and strike them out.
Reacting, the federal government’s lawyer, David Kaswe, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
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