Connect with us


Nnamdi Kanu: The Making of a Sweet Victory



By Eric Elezuo

The Appeal Court has agreed that Nnamdi Kanu’s extradition was illegal and as such, robbed any court necessary jurisdiction to entertain the suit. It has therefore granted the leader of the IPOB leader freedom from all counts against him.

For as as many that were following the trial of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in a case brought against him by the Federal Government of Nigeria, it was obvious that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government was pursuing a white elephant project. This is considering the merits of the case as has been postulated by renowned legal entities, most especially the legal team of the Biafran leader, led by Barrister Ifeanyi Ejimofor and the indefatigable luminary, who recently bagged a CON national honours, Mike Ozekhome.

The story of Nnamdi Kanu, revered by thousands of his followers, mostly of Southeast extraction, is a story of destiny and fate at work.

Basking from the near collapse of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) under the leadership of Ralph Uwazuruike, Kanu out of the blues flouted the IPOB organisation, to fight for the restoration of the Biafran state, which was clipped after 30 months of civil war between July 1967 and January 1970.

Kanu’s ordeal started when he was arrested October 14, 2015 by the Buhari administration following a sting operation led by a DSS operative, Temisan John. The operative said Kanu was arrested in the company of a woman at the Golden Tulip Essential Lagos Airport Hotel located at 42/44, Murtala Mohammed International Aiprot Road, Ikeja, Lagos.

“On arrival at the hotel, the staff denied having Kanu there or having any knowledge of him, even when showed his photograph. The guest manifest, for about five days, was also printed and the name was not found on any.

“However, relying on accurate intelligence, the team decided to conduct a physical search on all the rooms and Kanu was arrested in Room 303 while hibernating with a young girl, Maryam Ibezimakor, with all his broadcasting and communication gadgets set for use.

“It was then discovered that Kanu checked in under the name Nwanekaenyi Ezebuiro. He was subsequently arrested and taken to the command headquarters,” the Service narrated in 2015.

He was thereafter charged for treasonable felony by the Federal Government, and detained at the DSS facility.

However, with cases and counter cases proved in court, Kanu was finally granted bail with stringent conditions in April 2017 by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

One of the conditions was that he must present three sureties – one of whom must be a serving senator, a Jewish high priest and a highly respected Nigerian.

Also, he must not be seen in a crowd or gathering of more than 10 people. And that he must not grant interviews of any kind. Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, a senator from Abia south; Immanuu El-Shalom, an Igbo Jewish leader, and Tochukwu Uchendu, a businessman, stood in as sureties for Kanu, and his bail was facilitated.

But a few months later in September 2017, the Nigerian army during Operation Python Dance II, invaded his country home in Afaraukwu, Ibeku, Umuahia, where it was alleged that massive destruction and killings took place. Kanu escaped in a way that has yet to be proved till date, and was declared missing. He was however, to resurface in Jerusalem, Israel in October, 2018, over a year after the incident, and after much speculations about his whereabouts.

But on June 29, 2021, Nigerians woke to a shocking news that Kanu has been arrested and extradited to Nigeria. A statement by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, confirmed that Kanu was in the custody of the DSS, and appear in court soon.

Speaking from detention through his counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, Kanu said he was held incommunicado and chained to a bare floor for eight days in a nondescript private facility in Kenya.

Ejimakor explained further: “The people that abducted him said that they were told by their sponsors that Kanu was a Nigerian terrorist linked to the Islamic terrorists in Kenya, presumably Al-Shabab.

“But after several days when they discovered his true identity, they tended to treat him less badly. Despite that, they told him they felt committed to hand him over to those that hired them.”

“In my assessment of how the case now stands, I wager that before any court can subject Kanu to trial for any offenses, it has to first conduct a trial within trial on the grievous incident that forced him to leave Nigeria and the equally grievous incident that forced him back to Nigeria.

The counsel also argued that no matter the charges the government slam on Kanu, the law will not overlook the incidents that led  his escape from Nigeria, and the matter he was bundled back.

“No court of law, conscience and equity will overlook those two supervening incidents and proceed to trial,” he said.

Much as the Nigerian government accused Kanu of ‘orchestrating’ the killings of about 60 people, including security officials in the South-east. the IPOB, which was later proscribed, denied the allegations.

The government had slammed a 15-count charge including terrorism and treasonable felony against Kanu, but the trial judge, Mrs Nyako had in a ruling delivered on April 8, 2022,struck out eight of the 15 counts, leaving the IPOB to answer to only seven.

Nyako, in her ruling, threw out counts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12,13 and 14 which she ruled were repetitive and invalid.

But she approved counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15, under which the trial of Kanu has been premised since then much as he pleaded not guilty to the charges with his lawyer, Ozekhome reiterating that Kanu has no case to answer.

In the course of the trial, a high court in Umuahia, Abia State, ordered the federal government to pay N1 billion to Nnamdi Kanu for violating his rights.

Kanu had filed the application from the DSS custody through his counsel, Ejimakor against Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), and the Department of State Services (DSS) for allegedly violating his fundamental human rights.

Aside from the AGF and the DSS director-general, other respondents were the federal government of Nigeria (first), chief of army staff (third), inspector-general of police (fifth), and three others.

Amongst other reliefs sought in the suit marked HIH/FR14/2021, Kanu asked the court to compel the respondents to pay him N5 billion in damages as monetary compensation for the “physical, mental, emotional, psychological and other damages” suffered as a result of the alleged infringement on his fundamental rights.

He also sought damages for the invasion of his father’s house on September 10, 2017, by the military.

Delivering judgment, Benson Anya, the judge, described the invasion of Kanu’s Afaraukwu residence as notorious and brazen.

The judge also ordered the federal government to issue a public apology to Kanu in three national dailies. He also advised the federal government to adopt a political resolution in dealing with issues involving Kanu.

While the Kanu team awaited the Federal government to toe the line of the court’s recommendations, the trial took another twist on Thursday; a twist that forced the government and security chiefs to go into an urgent meeting. The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal discharged Nnamdi Kanu, of the remaining 7-count terrorism charges brought against him by the federal government. The appellate court, in a unanimous decision, faulted the process through which Kanu was brought before the Federal High Court to answer to a 15-count terrorism charges.

The appeal court ruled that the arrest, abduction and subsequent arraignment of Kanu before a Federal High Court violated international convention on terrorism and, thus, robbed any court of law in Nigeria necessary jurisdiction to entertain the suit. Justice Adedotun Adefope-Okijie, who read the judgement of the three-man panel, noted that there was nowhere the federal government showed it complied with the procedures for the extradition of the IPOB leader from Kenya last year.

The appellate court listed the conditions, according to the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU), which a state must meet to include a formal application for extradition to the host country, permission from court, and statement of the alleged offences in connection with the extradition request amongst others. The court explained that the requirements were aimed at ensuring that people were only extradited after full conviction of alleged committal of an offence and not for any other purpose.

The judge berated Nigeria, saying the country must learn to play by the rules and that the courts owed the country and people a duty to ensure that the executive abided by the law at all times particularly, when the country was a signatory to such laws.

While noting that the court might not have the powers to dictate to the executive, Adefope-Okijie said it could prevent the executive from abusing the law, adding that courts should not be shy to always call the executive to order.

The appellate court, in its judgement, further held that the trial court ought to have evaluated the circumstances under which Kanu was brought into the country to continue his trial. The three-man panel said the issue of jurisdiction raised by the appellant was one that was critical to the case, which the court ought to have resolved first. While stating that the issue of jurisdiction was properly raised before the trial court, Adefope-Okijie observed that the trial court turned a blind eye to it.

She stated, “The lower court must pronounce properly on all issues presented before it. The trial court ought to have made findings on the issue raised regarding the extradition.”

The judge added that the lower court had no jurisdiction to try the respondent in the retained charges.
“No court can try him going by the circumstances of the extraordinary rendition,” the court held.
According to the judgement, the federal government violated international convention on terrorism, which it was a signatory to, when it illegally arrested Kanu in Kenya and extraordinarily brought him to Nigeria for trial.
The appellate court held that the warrant of arrest issued against Kanu was not enough reason or excuse for the government to violate international convention and charters.

Narrating the sequence of events, Ozekhome explained 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.
The senior advocate 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”.

He therefore, contended that by section 45 (a) of the Federal High Court Act, with regard to criminal charge, the trial court does not have “global jurisdiction”.

But while jubilations filled the air over the court judgment, There was Malami, through a statement signed by his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, stated that the detained IPOB leader was only discharged and not acquitted by the court, hence the federal government could still explore other options to prosecute him.

“The appropriate legal options before the authorities will be exploited and communicated accordingly to the public,” he said, noting that the decision handed down by the Court of Appeal was on a single issue that borders on rendition.

But whichever way the case goes at the Supreme Court, which may be the next port of call, it remains obvious that as Kanu’s legal team had maintained, there’s no way a trial can be conducted without considering the two events that led to Kanu’s escape from Nigeria, and his forceful rendition back from Kenya.

Meanwhile, the IPOB leader remains incarcerated!

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Atiku Hails Judgment on Full Financial Autonomy for LGs, Says It’s a Win for Nigerian People




The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2023 general elections, and a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has hailed the judgment of the Supreme Court, ordering that henceforth local government allocations be paid direct into various local government accounts, saying it is a win for the people of Nigeria.

The Waziri Adamawa made his views public via his social media handle, saying categorically that “I align with the decision of the Supreme Court that the structure of the Nigerian government is portioned in three layers, and of these, the local governments should be centres of development.”

He wrote:

The judgment of the Supreme Court earlier today affirming fiscal autonomy to local government councils in the country is a win for the people of Nigeria.

The court’s ruling is a step in the right direction and a major corrective action in greasing the wheels of national development across the country.

The decision by the Federal Government to consolidate disbursements of local councils’ revenues into the state government accounts was a decision that was borne out of politics of hasty compromise.

I align with the decision of the Supreme Court that the structure of the Nigerian government is portioned in three layers, and of these, the local governments should be centres of development.

I also share the belief that fiscal autonomy to the local governments should not be limited to revenues from the Federation Accounts, but indeed, should apply to Internally Generated Revenue from the respective local government authorities.

Many of our states, especially those in the ultra urban areas with high density economic activities, have become notorious in muscling local councils from generating revenue on items that border on motor parks, outdoor advertising, rents and many more.

The verdict of the court is in tandem with the core functions of the Supreme Court as an arbitration court between and among governments. -AA

Continue Reading


Supreme Court Grants LGAs Full Financial Autonomy




The Supreme Court of Nigeria has ruled that the 774 local government areas (LGAs) be given a full financial autonomy across the federation.

A seven-man panel of Supreme Court Justices led by Justice Garba Lawal delivered the ruling on Thursday, July 11, 2024.

The apex Court initially heard the suit between the Federal and State government on the autonomy of local government on June 13 and reserved judgment.

The suit marked SC/CV/343/2024 was filed by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), and it sought full autonomy and direct fund allocation to the 774 local government areas (LGAs) in the country.

Fagbemi requested the Supreme Court to order that funds for LGAs managed by caretaker committees appointed by governors, rather than elected chairmen and councillors, be withheld.

However, the 36 state governors, represented by their attorneys general, oppose the suit on various grounds, including their argument that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.

In its ruliing on Thursday (today), the Supreme Court ordered that full financial autonomy be granted to the LGAs, recognizing them as an independent segment of the federation.

Continue Reading


Wike vs Ireti Kingibe: Time to Stop the Bully




By Eric Elezuo

It is an understatement to say that there’s no love lost between the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mr. Nyesom Wike, and the Senator representing the FCT, Mrs. Ireti Kingibe. Their relationship has turned more soured than the proverbial cat and rat. In fact, both cannot see eye to eye, in as much as they are saddled with the same responsibility of promoting and developing the FCT.

While Kingibe, one of the four female senators in the Senate, is operating on the mandate of the people, having been duly elected under the Labour Party in a well contested election in the 2023 General Elections, Wike is an appointee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

No one has been able to explain the origin of the beef between the two political figures, but source close to The Boss, has said that differences in political affiliation may have triggered the initial animosity before it blossomed into full time hatred and cross verbal attacks, leading to the bullying of the Senator.

Senator Kingibe had complained earlier in the life of the administration that the FCT has shun all her approaches to synergise for the benefit of the Abuja residents, since she’s a direct interface of the people as an elected representative. But Wike, in his response tackled the Abuja Senator, asking her to stay away from him that he does not wish to be friends with her.

Wike had lambasted the Senator, accusing her of blackmailing him instead of communicating her problems through the right channels or better still focusing on her oversight functions.

He stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja, stating that the lawmaker is aggrieved because the Senate President snubbed her for the position of the Senate Committee on FCT.

“I don’t want to be personal…she’s the Senator for FCT. She went around saying ‘oh, oh Wike is busy scraping roads…I should leave the roads till when the potholes come?” Wike said.

“Somebody wants to be your friend and you say ‘I don’t want to be your friend. Is it by force?’ The problem is that she wanted to be Chairman, Senate Committee on FCT and the Senate President said ‘I’m not giving you’.

‘What are you going to supervise me? You cannot supervise me. What is her interest, that I must see her? If I have a problem I’ll go and see her. I don’t have a problem. Nobody can intimidate me. Look, I was a Minister before. I became a governor of one of the most important states in Nigeria and she thinks that the only way you can bring me down is to go to Channels, TVC, saying the Minister is not carrying me along.

“I don’t have the back to carry. It’s not about blackmailing. Do the right thing. You know her problem? She ran election with my friend Philip Aduda and she sees me taking Philip everywhere instead of her being the Senator. Should I abandon my friend because he failed election?” Wike queried.

However, while the Senator has refused to stay bullied, Nigerians have said that time is now to tame the bully, and save the bullied from any further acts of disrespect.

Kingibe has made it clear however, that she is not in any interested in the friendship of Wike, who she only knows from a distance, but in working together to answer to the needs of the FCT residents, whom both of them have been mandated to serve at the moment.

Speaking on Arise News interview, the Senator reviewed as follows, taking into cognizance that Wike addresses her as one, who claims her senatorial role:

“That’s what he says. I am the senator, but he said in interviews that I claim that I am the senator of the FCT, and he is not obliged to deal with me. But I am saying that by sections 122 and 124 of the Evidence Act, he is bound by the judicial notice of the occupier of the seat of the senator of the FCT.

“I am also saying that section 24 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, imbues on him a duty, that is, the honourable minister, (I am not calling any names because anybody who is the minister is bound by those same laws and duties) to abide by the constitution, to respect all its ideals, institutions and legitimate authorities entirely.

“So just the same way that some Nigerians would have voted for the president, and some would not have, but as soon as he is declared the president, he becomes the president for everybody, and nobody can pick and choose who would rather be the president. And therefore, same applies to all offices regardless of party or any other position.”

She added, “Please what constitutes friendship between two people who have never met each other? I have never sat in the same room with the minister except in the senate committee. So how does friendship arise? Why would I want to be the friend of somebody I do not know?

“The truth of the matter is that the minister refuses to speak or communicate in any way with the senator representing the Federal Capital Territory. So, how are the wishes and the needs of the people to be communicated to him? Please tell me if you know a way.”

Responding while inaugurating the construction of Mabushi Bus Terminal, Phase I, in Abuja, came hard on the senator for her remarks threatening to unseat her as a serving senator in the next election.

Referring to her as a nameless person, Wike asked her to go hug the transformer, in a most derogatory attempt to inform that she does not matter in the scheme of activities in the FCT.

Wike said: “I overheard somebody in Arise this morning. Unfortunately, I hear the person is a member of National Assembly and it is unfortunate I say so. With all due respect, what you don’t know, you don’t know, what you know you know, and the good thing for you is to tell people you don’t when you don’t know, then people will educate you.

“The Honorable Minister of State and my humble self have not been in office for more than 11 months and the person is angry that they are praising us. If you don’t want to or you are angry about that, go and hand yourself in a transformer. If we have done well, we have done well. If we haven’t done well, we haven’t done well. I’m proud to say that in the short time that Mr. President has appointed us, we have done well.

“You said there are no hospitals and there are no hospitals. You, as a legislator, what have you done? How many bills have you sponsored for us to improve our education and health sector?

“I challenge that legislator. If you are very popular, 2027 come and run under Abuja, we will fail you. Do you think that what happened last time, will happen again? It will not happen again. Luckily for me, I am the FCT Minister now. So that is my territory and I’m not afraid.

“So, People should be able to come out and be able to accept the truth. We are not begging for anybody to become our friend, we have so many friends that we cannot even carry along. So how can we go and beg people to become our friends? We are not interested in that.

“If you are angry that people are praising us, by next year your BP level will go very high because the praises you would see would be too much.”

Many legislators were at the event, and they clapped for the minister at the remarks.

In another commissioning activity, the Senate President was on hand to deliver a speech, but ended up talking down on his colleague.

“I saw one of the legislators on television talking about you (Wike) and mentioning the fact that she was not carried along.

“Well, she is a member of the Senate. Once a decision is taken, she is bound by the decision. So, please ignore every distraction (from her) and be rest assured that no matter what you do, not everyone will praise you. Others will still try to find faults,” Mr Akpabio told Mr Wike, who was beaming with smiles.

Many other Senators were present at the event.

But Nigerians have come hard on the FCT Minister for his unguided utterances against an elected public officer, who is also a septugenarian, accusing him of lacking respect and playing God in the affairs of men.

In their response, the Labour Party, FCT branch, accused Wike of falling out of line, saying that Kingibe did nothing  y calling his attention to main needs of the Abuja residents.

The FCT chairman of the party, Comrade Diugwu Chukwuemeka, said by Wike’s outburst, he showed that he is not at home with the peculiarities of the FCT, nothing that the area is a conglomeration of different persons from across the length and breadth of the country.

“Does he not know that he is a tenant in FCT merely appointed by  the president and  if Mr. President decides to remove him, he will be removed without any ceremony,” the LP chairman queried.

On his part, the National Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Dr Ajuji Ahmed, described Wike’s attack on Senator Kingibe as verbal violence.

He said that Wike does not have the power to stop other politicians’ re-election because he is not the one that brought such politicians to the office in the first instance.

“That (the attack) amounts to verbal violence because there is no reason why he (Wike) should do that. He is not in the LP. It was LP that elected her. He has nothing to do with LP and he is not the entire electorate of the FCT. There is no way somebody can stop someone from being re-elected in three years time. It’s not a savoury statement.”

Also speaking, a Chieftain of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie, also described the verbal exchange between Wike and the FCT as bad.

He appealed to the two public officers to sheathe swords and collaborate for the overall progress of the FCT.

“For me, it is all politics. But it is unfortunate that they allowed their political differences to affect their service to the people.

“The senator representing FCT represents all Abuja and the entire Abuja has one FCT minister.

“It is the National Assembly that presides over Abuja. One would have expected the two to work together. But it is bad that they are fighting each other,” he said.

However, in total condemnation of Wike’s bullish approach to the administration of the FCT and attacks on Kingibe, the women of Abuja have held a protest, asking that Wike be checkmate in his untoward utterances against Kingibe.

“We, the Concerned Women of FCT, Abuja, are therefore calling on all women in Abuja to rise against Wike’s antics,” the women noted.

While Nigerians expect the legislators to come to the rescue and support of their colleague, the contrary is playing out, encouraging Wike’s bullish attitude. But Nigerians are stepping out of their comfort zone to curb the menace.

Nigerians also understand that Wike’s bullish stance extends to his Rivera State primary constituency, where he is slugging it out with the incumbent governor of the state, Mr. Siminalayi Fubara, over the control of the state. The state has,  in recent months, been a subject of political intrigues and violence as the parties fight for supremacy.

But time will tell.

Continue Reading