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Supreme Court Quashes Nnamdi Kanu’s Acquittal, Orders IPOB Leader’s Trial For Treason, Terrorism



The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Federal Government’s treason and terrorism charges instituted against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

The apex court held that even though the Federal Government illegally repatriated Kanu to Nigeria, it would not stop the trial court from presiding over the case.

“The court of appeal was wrong to say that the trial court cannot try Kanu. It can,” the apex court said.

The Supreme Court had fixed December 15 for final judgment in the legal battle between Kanu and FG regarding the alleged treason and terrorism charges preferred against him.

The five-man panel of the apex court led by Justice Kudirat K. adjourned for judgment after counsel for the parties adopted their processes.

The IPOB leader is still at the detention facility of the Department of State Services (DSS). reports that the court case has dragged on since 2015.

On October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal justices quashed all charges against Kanu, agreeing with the submissions of Mike Ozekhome, the IPOB leader’s lead counsel.

The Court of Appeal, while discharging Kanu of the 15 count charges against him, had barred the FG from trying Kanu on the charges he was facing before his forceful rendition from Kenya to Nigeria by agents of the Nigerian government on June 27, 2021.

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The Justices held that Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from overseas was done in violation of international laws, treaties on extradition, thereby shielding Kanu from being tried on the charges.

But the appellate court later stayed its judgment after the federal government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation asked that the execution of the verdict be paused in view of its application to the Supreme Court.

The AGF then appealed to the Supreme Court to set aside the lower court’s decision while Kanu’s lawyer urged the apex court to uphold the judgment of the Court of Appeal and order the release of his client.

Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, had told the court to dismiss the appeal of the federal government and order the release of his client.

But the counsel for the office of the Attorney General of the federation, T.A. Gazali, urged the court to set aside the judgment of the Court of Appeal and affirm the decision of the Federal High Court that Kanu should stand trial on the charges against him.

Reading the judgement prepared by Justice J. Garba, Justice Agim Emmanuel held that if the police should illegally violate the right of an accused, it should not block the court from jurisdiction.

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“There is no legislation that provides that a trial court will not have jurisdiction where a prosecution violates a persons right.

“Certainly, we decided not to go with the Court of Appeal decision,” Justice Agim said.

He said as much as the apex court strongly condemned what the prosecution did, Nigeria must protect its image through adherence to International and local law.

“The Nigerian law has not stated that the court should decline jurisdiction from trying a case even if law enforcement has violated the rights of a person,” the apex court said, allowing the appeal of the FG.

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