Nnamdi Kanu: Court reserves judgement on appeal
The Court of Appeal, FCT Abuja Division, on Tuesday, reserved judgement in the appeal brought before it by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, seeking dismissal of the remaining seven-count charge filed against him by the Federal Government.
A three-member panel of Justices of the appellate court, led by Justice Hanatu Jumai Sankey said it will communicate the date for judgment to parties in the matter.
When the appeal came up for hearing on Tuesday, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) adopted his processes and urged the panel to grant the appeal.
“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 High Court sitting Abuja, on April 8, 2022, struck out eight counts.
“Our humble submission is that the remaining seven counts ought not to be retrained by the trial court because, before the time, Kanu was renditioned to Nigeria from Kenya, he was facing a five-count charge,” he said and added that going by section 15 of the Extradition Act, “Kanu is not supposed to be charged without the approval of Kenyan government.
“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.”
Ozekhome contended that by Section 45(a) of the Federal High Court Act, with regards to a criminal charge, the trial court does not have ‘global jurisdiction’.
“Section 195 and 196 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), state that a charge must have date, time, location etc” and insisted that, there was no need for the Federal High Court to retain the remaining seven counts, and therefore urged the panel to take over the charges and strike them out.
Kanu’s lead counsel 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.
In his reaction, counsel to the Federal Government, David Kaswe, asked the court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
It would be recalled that Justice Nyako had, on April 8, 2023, struck out eight of the 15 count charges against Kanu.
The judge, in a ruling, had held that the removed charges did not disclose any offence against the defendant.
While ruling on the preliminary objection seeking to quash the charges, the judge said counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 had not disclosed any offence against the defendant (Kanu).
The charges that were struck out bordered on allegations that the IPOB leader made broadcasts to attack officers of the Nigeria Police Force, inciting members of the public to hunt and attack officers of the Nigerian Police Force, directing IPOB members to manufacture bombs and making of broadcasts on diverse dates in furtherance of terrorism against the Nigeria state, with intent to destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria.
He was also accused to have incited members of the public to stop the Anambra governorship election, destroying public facilities, threatening members of the public not to come out on May 31, 2021, and making broadcasts with the intention to incite members of the public to stage a violent revolution in furtherance of acts of terrorism.
The seven counts, which Justice Nyako said showed some allegations, that the IPOB leader had to answer are now the subject of the Appeal Court, on which the court had reserved its judgement.