Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the lead counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, detained leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) has responded to the remarks of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami over the decision of the Court of Appeal freeing the separatist leader.
On Thursday, the Appeal Court dismissed the remaining 7-count terrorism charge against Mr Kanu while describing his rendition from Kenya as illegal. This was after a Federal High Court in Abuja previously dismissed 8 of the charges over repetition and lacking in merit in April.
The Abia-born agitator is being prosecuted for demanding the restoration of the defunct Biafra republic largely comprising of present day South-East and parts of South-South geo-political zones.
He was arrested in 2015 at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos, arraigned and granted bail two years later but had his residence raided by military personnel, a development that forced him to flee the country and resurface in Israel, London and Kenya where he was illegally renditioned back to the country last year June.
Reacting to the decision of the Appellate Court, Mr Malami said the charges predating his illegal abduction will be revisited and appropriate legal options will be followed in seeking redress.
“For the avoidance of doubt and by the verdict of the Court, Kanu was only discharged and not acquitted,” the minister said in a statement by his aide, Umar Gwandu, on Thursday.
“Consequently, the appropriate legal options before the authorities will be exploited and communicated accordingly to the public.
“The decision handed down by the court of appeal was on a single issue that border on rendition.
“Let it be made clear to the general public that other issues that predate rendition on the basis of which Kanu jumped bail remain valid issues for judicial determination.
“The Federal Government will consider all available options open to us on the judgment on rendition while pursuing the determination of pre-rendition issues,” he retorted.
Responding to his outburst, Mr Ozekhome said he was ready to legal wrestle with the federal government which he said has refused to let peace reign.
“If the federal government wants to pursue trivial against a citizen by appealing against such a well rendered judgement, I can only wish them goodluck,” the lawyer said on Channels TV, “but let me also tell the federal government, if they appeal, I am going to file a cross appeal against two of the issues which I do not agree with the Court of Appeal, i.e the issue of the Citius of the place of commission of an offence.
“Section 45 of the High Court act are decisions of the Supreme Court makes it clear that you can only try a person in a place where you disclose the venue of the commission of the crime, the time, the circumstances, but when you said Nnamdi made a broadcast, from where did he made the broadcast?Is it in the spirit world? Is it in the land of the dead?” Mr Ozekhome queried.
He said “it will amount to persecution and no longer prosecution” should the Buhari regime fail to give peace a chance by heading to the apex court.
He also said that when he gets the Certified True Copies of the Appeal Court verdict, he will serve it on the AGF and the Department of States Service, thereby asking for the release of his client.