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HomeGistFG to resume Nnamdi Kanu’s trial on terrorism charges Feb 26

FG to resume Nnamdi Kanu’s trial on terrorism charges Feb 26

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Federal Government of Nigeria is to resume the trial of the self appointed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on terrorism charges on Monday, February 26.

The decision of the government to resume trial followed the December 15, 2023, judgment of the Supreme Court which gave go ahead for continuation of trial of Kanu in the remaining seven count charges against him.

A notice for resumption of the trial sighted indicated that it would proceed before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The notice indicated that Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) have been put on notice.

It was also observed that the Director General of the Department of the State Services (DSS) has been contacted to make the IPOB leader available in court on the date.

Kanu has been in the custody of the DSS since June 19, 2021, when he was arrested in Kenya and brought to Nigeria by the federal government through its security agency.

Although he was initially slammed with 15-count terrorism charges, Justice Binta Nyako in the course of trial did not find merit in 8 of the charges and subsequently dismissed them.

In a ruling in April 2022, the Judge upheld only seven count charges against Kanu and ordered him to open his defense on the alleged offense.

Temporary respite however came the way of the detained IPOB leader when the Court of Appeal in Abuja, in October 2022, quashed the entire terrorism charges against him and ordered his immediate release from DSS custody.

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The decision of the Court of Appeal was predicated on the unlawful rendition of Kanu by the Nigerian government from Kenya instead of extradition and held that his trial was unlawful along with the charges against him.

However, on October 28, 2022, the Court of Appeal granted a stay of execution of its order discharging Kanu following an appeal filed by the federal government at the Supreme Court.

On its part, the Supreme Court in a judgment on December 15, 2023, upturned the judgment of the lower court in favour of the government.

The Apex Court in the lead unanimous judgment by Justice Garba Lawal, but read by Justice Emmanuel Akomaye Agim, ordered that the trial of Kanu in the seven count charges be continued.

Justice Lawal held that although the Nigerian government recklessly, irresponsibly and unlawfully rendered Kanu from Kenya, such an unlawful act had not divested any court power to proceed with his trial.

The apex count said that no Nigerian law supported quashing of the charges and releasing Kanu owing to his mere unlawful abduction from Kenya and held that the remedy for such an action is for Kanu to file a civil matter against the government.

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