March 5, 2024

Nigeria’s Supreme Court has dismissed an Appeal Court decision which ordered the release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

In a judgment read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the apex court noted that despite series of illegalities carried out by the government including a military raid on his home prompting his fleeing the country for safety, and his subsequent extradition from Kenya, that’s not enough to stop a trial.

The apex court while condemning the action of the government says the law of Nigeria hasn’t gotten to a point that a trial will stop on account of illegality by the prosecution, adding that is a matter of legislation.

The court says Kanu should therefore seek redress by a civil suit against the infringement of fundamental rights.

With this judgment, the trial of the IPOB leader on the remaining seven count charge bordering on terrorism and treason will continue at the Federal High Court.

On 13 October 2022, the Court of Appeal in Abuja, had ordered the release of Nnamdi Kanu after striking out the terrorism and treasonable felony charge filed by the Nigerian government.

However, the government lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court to overturn the appellate court’s decision freeing Mr Kanu. It also obtained an order remanding him pending the determination of its appeal by the Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal panel led by Jummai Sankey said the lower court “lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the suit.”

The court held that Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya in June 2021 to Nigeria without following the extradition rules was a flagrant violation of Nigeria’s extradition treaty and a breach of the IPOB leader’s fundamental human rights.

Nnamdi Kanu was first arrested in 2015 for leading a separatist campaign in Nigeria’s South-east region through broadcasts on Radio Biafra, a station which the government alleges was used by the IPOB leader to incite violence.

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