Why new charges against Nnamdi Kanu can’t stand until he is released – Lawyer

Aloy Ejimakor, one of the lawyers defending detained leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, says new charges against his client cannot stand until he is released.

Mr Ejimakor stated this in a statement on Friday while reacting to the remarks of Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) who opined that the separatist leader freed by the Court of Appeal was yet to be acquitted.

Mr Kanu facing terrorism charges had 7 of the remaining charges dismissed by the Appellate Court months after a Federal High Court in Abuja striked out 8 of it.

Dissatisfied with the verdict, Mr Malami announced that some charges amended seven times during the legal tussle that predates his illegal rendition from Kenya will be revisited and appropriate legal actions will be taken.

The Justice Minister said that Mr Kanu jumped bail in 2017, apparently forgetting agents of the federal government – Nigerian Army – who invaded the residence of the secessionist in Abia State, forced him to flee the country, resurfacing in Israel, London and Kenya where he was abducted and brought back to the country, an act the Appeal Court described as a violation of local and international laws.

A federal high court in Umuahia had ruled on the supposed jumping of bail and fined the government and its agents the sum of N1 billion.

Responding to the outbursts of the Justice Minister, the special counsel to Kanu explained that going by the present circumstances which the government has found itself, its intentions to file fresh charges against his client will fall flatly.

“The position of AGF Malami on the Court of Appeal judgment regarding Nnamdi Kanu is flatly wrong and it is perverse to boot,” Mr Ejimakor stated. “If the FG refuses or stalls on releasing Kanu solely because it desires to levy further or new charges, it will amount to a burgeoning holding charge which is impermissible in our jurisprudence.

“Further, no new charges can stick against Kanu because, in the present circumstance, the extraordinary rendition is an abiding factor that has created a permanent barrier to his prosecution.

“Keep in mind that the extant trial of Kanu could never have proceeded had he not been illegally renditioned. So, it is not legally possible to lose jurisdiction in the extant charges and at once obtain jurisdiction in the next round of charges.

“The judgment of the Court of Appeal has therefore grandfathered a continuing lack of prosecutorial jurisdiction that will, in the interim, be very hard to overcome.

“Thus, before the levying of any new charges can have a toga of legality or chances of conferring prosecutorial jurisdiction, Kanu has to be released first, with the implied assurances that he is free to travel overseas without any let or hindrance.

“Anything to the contrary will strain constitutionality. It will also generate more political tensions in the polity and possibly trigger a nasty diplomatic brawl with Britain.”