IPOB leader sues Fed Govt for N50b over ‘extraordinary rendition’
The Federal High Court in Abuja is set to move the venue of the trial of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader Nnamdi Kanu to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) headquarters in Abuja.
It is in reaction to complaints about the discomfort experienced during proceedings in Kanu’s treasonable felony trial, which usually attracts many security agents.
The decision is contained in a new set of Practice Directions on Hearing of Terrorism Cases, issued by the Chief Judge, Justice John Tsoho.
The court’s spokesperson, Catherine Oby Christopher, said in a statement that the practice directions, to be cited as “The Federal High Court Practice Directions (On Trial of Terrorism Cases) 2022,” takes immediate effect.
Justice Tsoho, in the preamble to the directions, said he issued the directions in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 254 of the Constitution.
Order Two deals with “directions on trial proceedings.” It provides: “The perimeters of the court sitting over a terrorism trial shall be secured for the period of the trial for the safety of litigants and court officials.
“Distance and size of perimeters to be secured for the trial shall be determined based on the recommendation of security agencies on a case-by-case basis.
“No person shall be allowed within the secured perimeters save the approved court officials; parties and a number of pre-registered legal practitioners on either side, witnesses; and any other person as may be directed by the Judge or the most senior judge in the given circumstances
“Only the judges; other essential court staff and security agencies involved in the particular case and their vehicles shall have access to the court premises.”
Also yesterday, Kanu filed a fresh suit before the Federal High Court, Abuja, demanding his unconditional release.
Kanu, in the suit marked: “FHC/ABJ/CS/462/2022, is also claiming N50 billion damages and N100 million as the cost of the suit.
He argued that he was abducted in Kenya by the Nigerian Government’s agents, brought to Nigeria and kept under unlawful custody.
The Federal Government and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) are the defendants.
In the suit filed by his legal team led by Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Kanu wants the court to declare that his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria without being subjected to extradition proceedings/hearing in Kenya where he was abducted, is a clear violation of Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act CAP A9, LFN 2004.
He also wants a declaration that his continued detention on the strength of an amended charge filed after his extraordinary forceful rendition to Nigeria, are illegal, ultra vires the powers of the defendants and a violation of the 1st Defendant’s rights under Nigerian municipal Laws, African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Convention against Torture, its operational protocol, and constitutional rights of the Plaintiff; and the UN Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948.
The plaintiff is praying for an order directing the defendants to unconditionally release him forthwith from the custody of the Department of State Security.
Kanu is also praying the court to restrain the defendants and their agents “from taking any further step in the prosecution/trial of the plaintiff in criminal charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, currently pending before Court No. 2, Federal High Court, Abuja.
He wants the court to issue an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants and their agents, “from further prosecuting or from further initiating any criminal proceedings or action against the plaintiff; or from further arresting and or detaining the plaintiff on the same or similar offences.”
In a supporting affidavit, he stated that he is an indigene of Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, and was born on the 25th of September, 1967.
He added that after he was granted bail on April 14 2017 in the criminal charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, and the matter was consequently adjourned to the 17th day of October, 2017, for hearing.
“While the plaintiff was in his ancestral home at Afaraukwu Ibeku, Abia State, enjoying the bail granted to him by the court and preparing for his trial scheduled for the 17th day of October 2017, a joint team of security agents, led by soldiers invaded the said ancestral home of the Plaintiff on the 10th and 14th of September, 2017.
“In the course of his involuntary exile overseas, the plaintiff, on the 5th of May, 2021, entered the Republic of Kenya and was legally admitted into the country. After his admission, the plaintiff took up a temporary residence in a location in Nairobi, Kenya.
“On the 19th of June, 2021, the plaintiff drove himself without any companion to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya, on a personal engagement.
“Immediately the plaintiff pulled to a stop at the parking lot of the airport and alighted from his vehicle, about 20 agents of the defendants violently accosted and brutally abducted the plaintiff, handcuffed, blindfolded and bundled him into a waiting vehicle and immediately sped away.
“The plaintiff’s abductors took him to a nondescript private house (not a police station or other official holding facility) somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya, and chained him to the floor.
“The plaintiff was not shown any warrant of arrest issued by any court in Kenya or any extradition warrant. He also was not informed of the existence of any such warrant or the reason for his unlawful abduction.
“Throughout the duration of the plaintiff’s cruel captivity, he was not allowed to bath; and was fed only on bland bread once a day and given non-sanitary water to drink.
“The inhuman treatment, cruelty and vicious degradation the plaintiff’s abductors subjected him to, and the external and internal injuries he sustained therefrom, coupled with his poor health, made the plaintiff live in dread, fear, anxiety, terror and apprehension that he was going to die in captivity.
“All the plaintiff’s entreaties to his abductors to avail him medications for his hypertension and heart condition were inhumanely refused by the said agents of the defendants.
“All the plaintiff’s entreaties to be taken before a Kenyan court or even a Police station or other official law enforcement facility or allowed to make a phone call were not only roundly rejected but were met with more beatings and torture by his abductors.
“On the eighth day, the plaintiff’s abductors brought him out of the house, put him in a car, drove him straight to the tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, where they skillfully evaded Kenyan immigration, and forcibly bundled the plaintiff into a private jet that departed the airport at about 12 noon on 27th of June, 2021, and arrived Nigeria in the evening of the same day.”