No Freedom Yet
Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the proscribed separatist group IPOB remanded in custody till May 11 by Nigeria’s Supreme Court as government files fresh charges
The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned an appeal by the Nigerian government challenging the release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Kanu leads a separatist campaign in Nigeria’s South-east geo-political zone which he hopes would become an independent republic called Biafra. The region comprises mainly Igbo-speaking ethnic group.
A five-member panel of the Supreme Court led by John Okoro, adjourned the suit until May 11 for the hearing of the case.
On 13 October 2022, the Court of Appeal in Abuja, struck out the terrorism and treasonable felony charges filed against the IPOB leader by the Nigerian government.
Consequently, the appellate court ordered the government to release the IPOB leader.
However, the government lodged an appeal at the Supreme Court to overturn the appellate court’s decision freeing Kanu. It also obtained an order remanding Kanu pending the determination of its appeal by the Supreme Court.
Leading counsel for the embattled separatist leader, Mike Ozekhome, informed the panel of some applications bordering on Kanu’s bail and “deteriorating” health.
Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and a law professor, urged the court to either grant the IPOB leader bail or order his transfer to the Kuje Correctional Centre, Abuja, for him to be easily accessible pending the hearing and determination of the substantive appeal.
Kanu is being held at the State Security Service (SSS) detention facility in Abuja. The lawyer to the Nigerian government, Tijjani Gazali, also a SAN, argued that the SSS detention centre has adequate resources to attend to Mr Kanu’s health needs.
After listening to the arguments, the panel comprising John Okoro, Ibrahim Saulawa, Uwani Abba-Aji, Tijjani Abubakar and Emmanuel Agim advised Ozekhome to withdraw his applications to pave the way for a speedy hearing of the main suit.
It directed Gazali to file the appellant’s brief within six days from Thursday.
Kanu was forcibly extradited from Kenya by the Nigerian government in June 2021, to face terrorism charges in Abuja.
Akowe with reports from Abuja
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