By Yemi Oyeyemi, Abuja
The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, on Tuesday, reserved judgment in the appeal filed by detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, seeking dismissal of the remaining 7-count charge filed against him by the Federal Government.
The panel led by Justice Hannatu Jumai Sankey said it will communicate the date for judgment to parties.
When the appeal came up for hearing, Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN,
informed the 3-man panel of the appellate court that the appeal was predicated on a notice of appeal dated 29 April, 2022, while the brief of argument was dated June 20, 2022.
He said the respondent filed its reply brief of argument dated July 29, but filed on August 3.
The appellant filed a reply brief on the 25 August 2022, but deemed consequentialy filed today, September 13.
Ozekhome adopted his processes, and urged the panel to grant the appeal as “one of substance and merit”.
By way of adumbration, Ozekhome told the Court of Appeal that the appellant was first arraigned on 23 December 2015, and granted bail on 25 April 2017.
He informed the court that agents of Federal Government (the respondent) had launched a military operation, code named “Operation Python Dance” at the appellant’s home town on September 2017, which forced him to escape out of the country, to Isreal, then London.
The senior advocate recalled that on 27 June 2021, “the Federal Government forcefully arrested Kanu in Kenya and renditioned him back to Nigeria “in (a) 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 Binta Nyako, of the Federal Hight Court Abuja, on 8 April 2022, struck out eight counts.
“Our humble submission is that the remaining 7 counts ought not to be retrained by the trial court because, before the time Kanu was renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya, he was facing 5-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 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8, 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 offence 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 seven 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, asked the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.