By Abiodun OBA
The detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, will know his fate today in the appeal filed by the Federal Government against a judgment of the Court of Appeal, which quashed the treasonable felony charges against him.
The Supreme Court is expected to decide the fate of the IPOB leader today.
The Appeal Court had, apart from quashing the charges against Kanu, ordered his release from detention on the ground that he was unlawfully renditioned back to the country by the Federal Government after he allegedly jumped bail.
While the Federal Government is asking the apex court to set aside the judgement of the appellate court, Kanu, on his part, wants the Supreme Court to allow the judgment of the Court of Appeal and uphold his discharge and acquittal.
A five-member panel of the court, headed by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun had, on October 5, 2023, fixed the date for judgment, after the counsel to the Federal Government, Tijani Gazali (SAN) and Kanu’s lead counsel, Prof. Mike Ozekhome (SAN) made final submissions and adopted their briefs in the appeals.
Gazali, in his final submission, urged the apex court to allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the court below and affirm the judgment of the Federal High Court, Abuja which held that, Kanu should stand trial in respect of the charge, which the Appeal Court quashed.
The Federal Government lawyer further urged the apex court to dismiss the cross appeal filed by the IPOB leader.
On his part, Ozekhome, Kanu’s lead counsel urged the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal filed by the Federal Government with punitive cost and uphold the cross appeal in order to do substantial justice to the matter.
He urged the court to allow the cross appeal filed by his client whom, he said, has been in custody since June 29, 2021 even when the Appeal 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 delivered on October 13, 2022, faulted the manner the Federal Government 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 he jumped bail.
The Appeal Court was of the view that the Federal Government 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 Federal Government breached the international laws and resorted to self-help in its failure to file extradition application against Kanu in Kenya instead of resorting to unlawful abduction, rendition.
The three-member panel of Justices of the Court of Appeal then, discharged Kanu and order his release from custody.
Before the judgment could be executed, the Federal Government applied to the Court of Appeal for a stay of execution pending the determination of its appeal against the judgment, an application the Court of Appeal granted.
It would be recalled that, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja 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.