The Court of Appeal Abuja has reserved judgement in the case between the leader of the Indigenous People’s of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and the federal government.
Today (Tuesday) was fixed for hearing of Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/ 625/2022; between Kanu and the federal government.
During the proceedings, the Court of Appeal asked the federal government legal team to confirm if Kanu’s charges were amended seven times since 2015.
Lawyer from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, D. Kaswe, admitted in the affirmative.
Recall that Justice Binta Inyako had on the 8th of April, struck out 8 out of the 15 count terrorism-related charge against Kanu.
Dissatisfied, Kanu, through his lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, approached the Court of Appeal challenging the remaining seven count terrorism-related charge filed against his client.
A three-man panel led by Justice Jummai Hannatu, from Gombe Division presided over the case on Tuesday.
Ozekhome told the appellate court that Kanu is a defendant in a 2015 case before the Federal High Court, adding he was granted bail on September 2017, and has not breached the terms.
“In September 2017, agents of the federal government invaded his ancestral home and he escaped to Israel and then to the United Kingdom.
“While Kanu travelled to Kenya, agents of the AGF forcefully abducted and tortured him and he was extradited back to Nigeria without any authorization from Kenya authorities,” he said.
Ozekhome argued that the remaining counts of the charge ought not to have been retained by the lower court because at the time Kanu was renditioned back to Kenya, he was already facing a five-count charge in line with the Extradition Act.
He contended that the AGF should not have rearraigned him on new charges.
“The seven count charge cannot stand because it was filed illegally against the Extradition Act which requires authorization from Kenya authorities (court),” Ozekhome said.
He told the court that four out of the original five count charges were removed and 14 new charges introduced.
He maintained that the forceful rendition of Kanu has not been denied by the federal government and that all the counts alleged except one, did not mention the location where Kanu allegedly committed the offense.
“You must show where the offenses were committed.
“The Federal High Court does not have global jurisdiction over criminal matters.
“We are urging my lord to grant our appeal,” he said.
On his part, D. Kaswe, Assistant Chief State Counsel from the Chambers of the Attorney-General of the Federation, told the Court to dismiss the appeal for lacking in merit.
He said FG was never given opportunity to produce evidence because of Kanu’s over 19 applications.
He said while the appellant “vanished into the tin air”, it took resources to rearrest and extradite Kanu to face charges in Nigeria.
“By due process of the law, Kanu was brought back to Nigeria,” he insisted.
“On what grounds did the lower court strike out 8 out of the 15 count charge? The panel asked.
“The trial court struck out those counts because there was no proof of evidence,” Kaswe replied.
The panel queried why the charges were amended seven times.
“Some of the reasons for the amendment is based on the conduct of Kanu,” Kaswe said.
‘Leave that please, let’s move forward,” Justice Hannatu interjected.
Subsequently, the panel, “reserve judgement to this appeal to a date to be notified to the parties.”
Kaswe contended that contrary to Ozekhome’s argument, the Federal High Court, Abuja has territorial jurisdiction to try any case that happened anywhere in Nigeria.
Earlier, Ozekhome had informed the court that he has two other applications for bail and accelerated hearing.
But the appellate court held that since the main appeal is ripe for hearing, bail application has been overtaken by events.