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The Nigerian government has added nine appeals to the four it hastily filed last year. Nnamdi KanuLeader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), from custody.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja ordered the release of Mr. Kanu from the custody of the State Security Service (SSS) after the charges against Mr. Kanu were dismissed in October last year.
The treason and terrorism charges relate to Mr Kanu’s campaigns for the secession of south-east Nigeria and elsewhere in the region as the independent Republic of Biafra.
Mr Kanu, who initially fled the country in September 2017, suspending his trial which began in 2015, was apprehended in Kenya and returned to Nigeria under controversial circumstances in June 2021.
The shady way he returned to Nigeria was cited by the Court of Appeal to dismiss the charges against him and order his release in October 2022.
But to block Mr. Kanu’s release, the federal government hastily filed Notice of four grounds of appeal Against the decision of the Court of Appeal in the Supreme Court. He then moved the Court of Appeal to stay the execution of the order to release Mr. Kanu from custody pending a decision by the Supreme Court on the jurisdiction of the charges.
the court accepted the request of the federal government Allowing Mr. Kanu to pursue his appeal in the Supreme Court while in custody.
Having gained enough time to strengthen the appeal, the government has now presented nine additional reasons to the four reasons it presented in response to the October 13, 2022 decision of the Court of Appeal to sack Mr. Kanu.
Laying the groundwork to challenge the decision to release Mr Kanu, the government said the Court of Appeal erred in considering only the proceedings for the extradition of the IPOB leader from Kenya, without considering the seriousness of the alleged crimes he was being prosecuted for.
Below are highlights of the 13 appeals on which the federal government has anchored its appeal.
In Ground 1, the government argued that the Court of Appeals allegedly erred in law by ignoring important provisions of the Criminal Justice Administration Act of 2015 (ACJA), the law that governs criminal proceedings in federal courts.
Citing section 221 of the ACJA, the government argued that the five-judge panel of the Court of Appeal led by Jummai Sankey did not give legal effect to “courts to entertain appeals at the interlocutory stage”.
He added that the court’s decision had caused a “miscarriage of justice”.
The government challenged the court’s decision, arguing that it refused to “be bound by precedent established by the Supreme Court on the manner in which a defendant charged with a crime can be admitted.”
The federal government said the Court of Appeal had caused a “miscarriage of justice” by ruling that Mr Kanu’s extradition from Kenya was “unlawful”.
Citing the case of Patrick Njovens & others V the state (1973), he said the appellate court’s decision deviated from the precedent set by the apex court.
The government further said the Court of Appeal “misdirected itself when it relied on Mr Kanu’s extradition to usurp the court’s jurisdiction”, adding that it was “inconsistent with judicial precedent” of the Supreme Court.
On another ground, the prosecution said the Court of Appeal was wrong to rely “heavily” on international legal instruments and cases decided from “foreign jurisdictions” in making the decision to release Mr Kanu.
The court held that the reliance on foreign laws of the African Union Charter for the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights was to the detriment of the laws governing criminal procedure in Nigeria.
“The lower court erred when it gave binding force to treaties, conventions and foreign judgments inconsistent with our Nigerian law,” the government said.
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The government complained that the Court of Appeal denied a fair trial.
He said the appellate court judges failed to determine the jurisdiction of Mr. Kanu’s preliminary objection to the jurisdiction of the charges against him, thereby denying the government “the right to a fair hearing”.
“The nature of the entry of the respondent (Mr. Kanu) is not relevant in determining the merit of the charges,” the government said.
Challenging the court’s order to release Mr Kanu, the government argued that the appeals court had erred in ruling that the Federal Court had no jurisdiction to try the IPOB leader because of his “extraordinary rendition” from Kenya.
“There was no evidence” before the trial court and the lower court led by Mr. Kanu to show how he was allegedly kidnapped and sent to Nigeria, the government said.
Citing section 94 of the ACJA and section 32 of the Prevention of Terrorism Amendment Act 2013, the government argued that the Federal Court had adequate jurisdiction to hear the case against the separatist leader.
Furthermore, the manner in which Mr. Kanu is returned to the country “cannot nullify the criminal charges of treason, treason and terrorism against him.”
The government told the Supreme Court that the IPOB leader was being tried in the Federal Court, but the court’s orders were “nullified” and he “jumped bail”.
However, Mr Kanu has blamed his absence from court on the invasion of his home in Abia State by the Nigerian army.
The government looked at this ground to argue that the Court of Appeal had not considered the issues prior to Mr. Kanu’s extradition.
The IPOB leader, the government said, was on trial for “conspiracy, treason and terrorism charges before he fled”.
He said the appeal court failed to deliver justice to his law and “normative values (were) violated and also failed to deliver justice” to the victims of Mr Kanu’s “criminal act”.
In its seventh ground, the government argued that the Court of Appeal erred when it “failed to consider the illegality of Mr Kanu” that required Mr Kanu’s “jumping bail and refusing to make himself available for trial” to return to Nigeria.
The government argued that it had a “legal obligation” to bring the IPOB leader “before the court to answer the charges preferred against him”.
He explained that Magistrate Binta Nyako granted Mr. Kanu bail on April 25, 2017, but the next day adjourned to July 11 and 12, 2017, the IPOB leader was out of court because he “jumped bail and fled the country”.
Citing section 104 of the ACJA, the government said it was its responsibility to bring Mr Kanu to trial to face trial.
The government argued that Jummai Sankey’s panel of the Court of Appeal “failed in law and caused grave injustice to the appellant (government)” adding that Mr Kanu’s unusual delivery “robbed the trial judge of his power to entertain”. charges before the court” even before the IPOB leader “jumped bail and ran”.
According to the prosecution, “The Court of Appeal acted without jurisdiction” when they allowed Mr. Kanu’s “appeal, the said decision of the Court was made without jurisdiction” in violation of Section 396(2) of the ACJA.
The government argued that the Court of Appeal judges “erred in law” in Mr Kanu’s affidavit in support of his preliminary objection “to conclude that the respondent illegally returned to Nigeria”.
The government also said the appellate court erred when it ruled that Mr Kanu’s “preliminary objection” to certain paragraphs of the “affidavit” was to the appellant’s admission of the facts therein.
The government challenged the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeal to entertain Mr Kanu’s interview appeal “which was filed without the leave of the Federal Court”.
Mr. Kanu said the Federal Court decision he appealed was interlocutory, which is what was presented at trial.
Therefore, the government argued that the Court of Appeal judges were wrong to conclude that “Mr. Kanu” was unlawfully taken by the Federal Government when it “relied on the alleged non-compliance” with the provisions of the Extradition Act. entered Nigeria and therefore the court had no jurisdiction to continue his trial.’
In court filings signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation (DPPF), Mohammed Abubakar, the government asked the court to allow its appeal and set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal.
He also asked the Supreme Court to reinstate the indictment against the IPOB leader for trial at the Federal Court.
Mr Kanu’s lead lawyer, Solicitor General of Nigeria (SAN) Mike Ozekhome, confirmed on Thursday that he had received the file.
Mr. Ozekhome, a Law professor, disclosed that he was given a copy of the court document on Wednesday, a day before Thursday’s proceedings, when the Supreme Court upheld the federal government’s additional filing.
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the federal government to update its filings with additional reasons.
A five-member panel of the court presided over by Inyang Okoro then procedures delayed until May 11, for trial.
Thursday’s proceedings set up a plenary hearing of the appeal challenging the October 2022 judgment of the Lower Court of Appeal that dismissed the charges against the IPOB leader.
Mr. Kanu, who is leading the independence campaign for the secession of predominantly Igbo-speaking South-Eastern states and parts of neighboring states, as the independent Republic of Biafra, is being held at the headquarters of the State Security Service (SSS) in Abuja.
The trial began after he was arrested in 2015 on charges of treason and terrorism for his separatist activities. But the case stalled after he fled the country following a military invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, Abia State. While on bail in September 2017.
The IPOB leader was forcibly removed from Kenya by the Nigerian government to face trial in June 2021.
However, the Federal High Court in Abuja ruled on Mr Kanu’s later application to challenge all 15 charges. he rejected eight of them all he ruled that it was not inappropriate.
Aggrieved by the court’s partial discharge, Mr. Kanu moved the Court of Appeal in Abuja to strike the remaining seven counts.
The Court of Appeal granted his request excluding the remaining seven accounts and he ordered his release from prison in the judgment issued on October 13, 2022.
The appeals court based its decision on the ground that the unusual mode of delivery of Mr Kanu back to Nigeria violated local and international laws.
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