The Court of Appeal in Abuja has discharged Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
A three-man panel of the appellate court on Thursday held that the Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to try Mr. Kanu on the grounds of his rendition to Nigeria which violates the protocol on extradition and the OAU convention.
The court held that the Federal Government failed to disclose the exact location Mr. Kanu was arrested; neither did the 15-count charge against him disclose the place, date, time, and nature of the alleged offenses before extraditing him.
Consequently, the appellate court discharged Kanu of the charges proffered against him by the federal government.
What happened in court
In the Appeal marked: CA/ABJ/CR/ 625/2022; Mr. Kanu challenged the remaining seven count charges proffered against him by the FG. His counsel prayed to the appellate court to squash them.
Recall Kanu was re-arraigned in October 2021, after his extradition before Justice Binta Nyako on his alleged involvement in acts of terrorism.
Though he pleaded not guilty to the fresh 7-count charges bordering on alleged terrorism and treasonable felony slammed, on January 18, 2022, the FG proffered fresh 8 terrorism charges against him, increasing the number to 15 of which he also pleaded not guilty to.
On May 28, the trial judge struck out eight of the 15 count charge against him, leaving 7 charges which led to Kanu’s appeal seeking to squash them.
Delivering judgment on the appeal, the panel said;
“It is clear that where a court lacks jurisdiction to determine a matter, every other thing it does will amount to a nullity,”
The panel noted that the country (Nigeria) has a duty to conform to international laws and legal framework and that removing Kanu from another country without trial constitutes a fundamental violation of his rights.
According to the panel, the FG clearly violated international laws in the manner in which it extradited Kanu.
The appellate court noted that Kanu’s whole trial is tainted since law enforcement could not show how and where Kanu was extradited.
The panel held that the lower court failed to look at the facts of Kanu’s extradition.
“I hold that the respondent is restrained from holding Kanu in detention.
“The lower court has no jurisdiction to try Kanu on the remaining charges.
“This appeal succeeds, the decision of Justice Nyako retain remaining charges are set aside and the defendant is discharged. The court held.