…Says he was right to flee for dear life
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Supreme Court has absolved the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, of the bail jump charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.
This is contained in the Certified True Copy, CTC, of the judgment of the apex on the appeal by the Federal Government against the IPOB Leader.
The Supreme Court delivered the judgment on December 15, 2023 but failed to release the CTC until Monday, January 22, 2024, after much pressure from Kanu’s legal team, family and members of the public.
According to the CTC of the judgment made available to Kanu’s Special Counsel, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, the Supreme Court held that the Federal Government through its agents, caused the IPOB Leader to fee for his dear life when they invaded his home.
The apex court blamed the Federal Government for Kanu’s escape, and reprimanded Government for claiming that Kanu jumped bail when, in fact it was the cause of the flight.
Justice Emmanuel Agim in his concouring judgment, held that the Army which invaded Kanu’s home while he was on bail and preparing to attend court session for his trial, should be held responsible for his escape which, according to the apex court was the right thing for any normal human being to do in that circumstance.
The judgment read in part: “The respondent (Nandi Kanu) was on bail and therefore in custody of the law when his home was illegally invaded by heavily armed military officers of the appellant (Federal Republic of Nigeria) causing him to flee from his home and the country to secure his life.
“In the face of such an attack, it was responsible for him to flee to secure his life and physical well being. That is what any normal and reasonable human being would do in that circumstance to preserve his life and physical well-being. It is glaring that the consequences of that attack were intended or foreseeable. This is not arguable.
“The appellant’s officials knew that their invasion of the respondent’s home caused him to run away to secure his life and physical well-being. Yet during proceedings in the pending criminal case against him, they applied that his bail be revoked, that a warrant for his arrest be issued and his sureties forfeit their respective bail bond and that his trial in his absence be ordered because he had jumped bail and is not in court to stand his trial.
“But they knew that their illegal actions made it impossible for the respondent (Nnamdi Kanu) to be in court for his trial. In a situation such as this one, where the prosecution has taken extrajudicial actions against the defendant in a pending criminal case brought by it and made it impossible for the defendant who is on bail to be in court for his or her trial, it is wrong to treat such a defendant as having jumped bail in the sense that he is running from prosecution or running to avoid prosecution in the pending criminal case in respect of which he was granted bail.
“The respondent did not intentionally and knowingly fail to appear in court. It was therefore wrong and malicious for the appellant (Federal Republic of Nigeria) that had caused the respondent (Nnamdi Kanu) to flee from his home and country to secure his life and that had therefore caused his unavoidable absence from court, to inform and thereby deceived the trial court that the respondent had jumped bail.
“On the basis of this deception, the appellant applied to the trial court for an order revoking the respondent’s bail, forfeiting the amount securing the bail bond of his sureties and an order issuing a bench warrant for his arrest. It is glaring from the record of the proceedings in the trial court that it granted the said orders prayed for by the appellant with knowledge of the fact that the respondent’s absence from court was caused by the invasion of his home by army officers of the appellant.
“Therefore, the trial court knew that the said extrajudicial and illegal actions of the appellant made it impossible for the respondent to be in court for his trial, that the respondent’s absence is not intentional or deliberate absence and that the respondent is not running from prosecution or running to avoid prosecution.
“In the light of the foregoing, the trial court acted unfairly and without rational and legally justifiable basis by its decisions revoking the respondent’s bail, forfeiting the amount securing the bail bond of his sureties and its order issuing a bench warrant for his arrest.
“The orders were made on the basis of the false assumption that the respondent jumped bail. It was on the basis of the order of arrest of the respondent obtained under the false pretense that he jumped bail that his extradition or rendition from Kenya was carried out”.