Supreme Court fixes date to deliver judgment in Kanu’s case

The Supreme Court will hear petitions from the federal government and detained Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu on Friday.

Following final comments from the federal government’s lawyer, Tijani Gazali (SAN), and Kanu’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), a five-member court panel led by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun set October 5 as the date for the hearing.

The federal government asks the court to overturn an earlier ruling by the Court of Appeal, which overturned Kanu’s treasonable felony conviction and ordered his release on the grounds that he was wrongfully returned to the country after failing to appear for bail.

Kanu, for his part, requests that the Supreme Court accept the Court of Appeal’s verdict and uphold his discharge and acquittal.

In his final submission, Gazali urged the apex court “to allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the court below and affirm the judgment of the trial court (Federal High Court), to the effect that the respondent should stand trial in respect of the charge, which the court below quashed.”

Gazali further urged the court to dismiss the cross appeal filed by Kanu.

On his part, Ozekhome urged the court to dismiss the appeal filed by the Fed Govt c”with punitive cost and uphold the cross appeal in order to do substantial justice to this matter.”

He urged the court to allow the cross appeal filed by his client.

Ozekhome told the court that his client has been in custody since June 29, 2021.

“even when the lower court had ordered his release.”

He prayed the court “to use this case to demonstrate that no government should trample on the rights of citizens as was done in the case of Ojukwu v. Lagos State.”

The Court of Appeal in Abuja had in its judgment on October 13, 2022 in faulted the manner the Fed Govt brought Kanu back into the country and proceeded to quash the seven counts left in the treasonable felony charge on which the IPOB leader was being tried before a Federal High Court in Abuja before jumped bail.

The Appeal Court was of the view that the Fed Govt violated rules of engagement in the ways and manners Kanu was arrested in Kenya and brought to Nigeria.

The Court of Appeal added that the Fed Govt breached the international laws and resorted to self help in its failure to file extradition application Kanu in Kenya instead of resorting to unlawful abduction, rendition.

The appellate court’s three-member panel proceeded to discharge Kanu and order his release from custody.

Before the judgment could be executed, the Fed Govt applied to the Court of Appeal for a stay of execution pending th determination of its appeal against the judgment, an application the Court of Appeal granted.

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court had in an earlier ruling, struck out eight counts out of the 15 counts in the original charge filed against Kanu, leaving seven, which the Court of Appeal quashed in its judgment.

 

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