Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has filed a fresh suit at a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, seeking the enforcement of his fundamental human rights violated by the Federal Government, following his extra-ordinary rendition from Kenya in June 2021.
The move is coming barely three months after an Abia High Court had indicted the Army over the military invasion of the IPOB leader’s country home in September 2017, declaring the raid as illegal.
Kanu in the suit filed by his Special Counsel, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, seeks an order of the court to declare his arrest in Kenya by the Respondents’ agents without due process of law, arbitrary, unlawful and unconstitutional”.
He also seeks an order of the court declaring the refusal of the Respondents to produce him before a Kenyan Court for the purpose of his extradition “illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and an infringement of his fundamental right against arbitrary arrest, to his personal liberty and to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.”
The suit marked: FHC/UM/CS/30/2022/, also seeks ” a declaration that the detention of the Applicant in a non-official secret facility in Kenya and the torture of the Applicant in Kenya by the Respondents’ agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against unlawful detention, torture and to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter”.
Respondents to the suit include the Federal Government, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and the Attorney General of the Federation.
Other prayers by Kanu include: “that, pursuant to Article 12(4) of the Charter, the expulsion (or extraordinary rendition) of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria by the Respondents without a decision taken in accordance with the law of Kenya is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right to fair hearing and not to be expelled from a State Party to the Charter except by virtue of a decision taken in accordance with the law, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.
” A declaration that any criminal prosecution of the Applicant the purpose of which the Respondents unlawfully expelled the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.
” An order of injunction restraining and prohibiting the Respondents from taking any further step in any criminal prosecution of the Applicant enabled by the said unlawful expulsion of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria.
“An order mandating and compelling the Respondents to forthwith restitute or otherwise restore the Applicant to his liberty, same being his state of being as of 19th June, 2021; and to thereupon repatriate the Applicant to his country of lawful domicile (to wit: the United Kingdom) to await the outcome of any formal request the Respondents may file before the competent authorities in Britain for the lawful extradition of the Applicant to Nigeria.
“An order mandating and compelling the Respondents to issue an official Letter of Apology to the Applicant for the infringement of his fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter of Apology in three (3) national dailies.
“An order mandating and compelling the Respondents to pay the sum of N25,000,000,000.00 (Twenty-Five Billion Naira) to the Applicant, being monetary damages claimed by the Applicant against the Respondents jointly and severally for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological, property and other damages suffered by the Applicant as a result of the infringements of Applicant’s fundamental rights by the Respondents.”
The presiding judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, however, requested Kanu’s lawyers to furnish the Court with more information on why the Court should have territorial jurisdiction to abdicate on the matter.
The matter was adjourned till April 27, 2022.
None of the respondents appeared in court. They were also not represented by any counsel.
Speaking with newsmen later, Kanu’s Special Counsel, Ejimakor said the suit was aimed at redressing “the infamous unlawful expulsion or extra-ordinary rendition of Nnamdi Kanu, which is a clear violation of his fundamental rights under Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights”.
Continuing he said: “In addition to the rendition, I am asking the Court to redress the myriad violations that came with the rendition, such as the torture, the unlawful detention and the denial of his right to the fair hearing required by law before anybody is expelled from one country to the other.
“You will recall that that on 19th January, 2022, the High Court of Abia State determined that portion of violation of Kanu’s fundamental rights that occurred in 2017. Even as I had made claims that bordered on rendition, the Court declined jurisdiction on grounds that rendition, being related to extradition, lies within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.
“So, this instant suit is as a result of my considered decision that a fresh action before the Federal High Court will be the best route towards addressing this matter of rendition or unlawful expulsion and its legal impacts on the prosecutorial powers of the Nigerian State.
“To be sure, the extra-ordinary rendition of Nnamdi Kanu triggered legal injuries that cut across multiple jurisdictions both inside Nigeria and abroad. There are now new legal and even diplomatic issues that must be addressed in the United Kingdom, Kenya, the United Nations and the African Union. And within Nigeria, the rendition has expanded the matter far beyond the realms of the trial that lies in Abuja.”
Ejimakor was accompanied by other lawyers including Patrick Agazie, Ohaeto Uwazie and Mandela Umegborogu.