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Appeal Court reserves judgment in Kanu’s appeal

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The Court of Appeal, on Tuesday, reserved judgment in the appeal filed by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, challenging the against terrorism charge filed against him by the Federal Government.

The appellate court announced that its date for judgment will be communicated to parties in the suit.

Kanu had faulted the order of Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja, 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, “judgment has been reserved to a date that will be communicated to parties”.

In arguing the appeal, Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told the three-member panel that Kanu was first arraigned on Dec. 23,2015, and granted bail on April 25, 2017.

He explained further that agent of federal government (the respondent) had launched a military operation, code named “Operation Python Dance” at the appellant’s hometown in September 2017, which forced him to escape out of the country, to Isreal, then London.

He recalled that on June 27, 2021, the federal government forcefully arrested Kanu in Kenya and renditioned him back to Nigeria in most cruel and inhuman manner”.

“On 29 June 2021, the appellant was taken to court by the federal government, where he was rearraigned.

“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 Hight 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 five-count charge”.

Ozekhome submitted that, going by Section 15 of the Extradition Act, “Kanu is not supposed to be charged without the approval of Kenyan government.

“The remaining seven counts, cannot stand, being filed illegally without following due process under the rule of specialty 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.

In addition, 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.

Kanu’s lawyer contended that by section 45 (a) of the Federal High Court Act, with regards to criminal charge, the trial court does not have “global jurisdiction”.

More so, “Section 195 and 196 of Administrattion of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), state that a charge must have date, time, location etc.

He insisted that there was no need for the FHC to retain the remaining 7 counts, and therefore urged the panel to take over the charges and strike them out.

The senior lawyer also asked the appellate panel to hold that the respondent has not furnished the court with any prima facie case against the appellant for which he is being charged.

Reacting, the Federal Government’s lawyer, Mr David Kaswe urged the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.

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Edith Nwapi

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