The Supreme Court has set aside a judgment by the lower court that dismissed the terrorism charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The apex court held that the court of appeal was wrong and that the trial court couldn’t try him because the prosecution violated his rights.
In the judgment prepared by Justice Garba Mohammed, the court condemned the invasion of Kanu’s residence, declaring it irresponsible.
The court held that there is no law in the country stopping a trial based on the violation of the rights of a suspect.
Mohammed said, “If the police should destroy the house of a suspect to obtain exhibits, should that diverse the court against entertaining the offence?
“His remedy should be the way of civil proceeding. Proceedings can’t be stopped on account of the violation of the rights of the suspects; that is not our law for now.
“We decided not to go with the court of appeal. Though we condemned the violation of his rights, Nigeria must redeem its image and adhere to the rule of law. If a person has been granted bail, why did you invade his house? That is irresponsible. You shouldn’t blame him for running.
“No legislation in the country stripped the trial court of the jurisdiction to go ahead with Kanu’s case, despite the illegal action of the FG.
“The law must take its course. The Court of Appeal was wrong that the trial court couldn’t try him. The appeal is allowed, and the cross-appeal is dismissed.”
Kanu was first arrested in 2015 under the administration of former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
He was subsequently granted bail in April 2017 and fled the country after an invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the Nigerian military in September 2017.
Kanu was re-arrested in Kenya and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.
He was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja on four charges of treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, illegal importation of radio equipment, and defamation of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The charges were later withdrawn by the former Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, who replaced them with a fresh 14-count charge bordering on terrorism and membership in a proscribed group, among others.
The court, however, reduced the charges to seven.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja on October 13, 2022, held that how Kanu was renditioned to the country violated the country’s extradition treaty and was also a breach of his fundamental human rights.
The appellate court also struck out the terrorism charges filed against Kanu by the Nigerian government and ordered his release from the DSS facility.
The FG, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, appealed the court ruling and subsequently obtained an order staying the execution of the court judgement at the Supreme Court.
Kanu, through his lawyers, filed an appeal against the stay of execution order at the apex court on November 3, 2022.
Displeased by the verdict of the appellate court, the FG filed an appeal at the Supreme Court.
Credit – Punch