IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The legal advice forwarded to the Presidency by the Attorney General of the Federation, (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, might have informed the decision of the Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday, October 14, 2022 to ignore the Court of Appeal verdict ordering for the unconditional release from DSS custody of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
According to the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, who spoke to the media at the end of the Council meeting, the Federal Government is of the view that Nnamdi Kanu was only discharged and not acquitted by the Court of Appeal judgment on Thursday, October 13, 2022.
It is therefore necessary for the AGF and Minister of Justice, Malami (SAN), to comply with the order of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal or consider voluntary resignation for exposing the Federal Government to international embarrassment and ridicule, going by the submission of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lawyer to the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Kanu, on Friday.
He was responding to the statement by the Special Assistant (Media and Public Relations) to the AGF, Dr. Umar Gwandu, in reaction to the Appeal Court judgment, which freed Kanu and quashed the charges of terrorism against him.
According to him, the reference by the AGF to the charge pending against Kanu before he left Nigeria in 2017 and the indication that the Federal Government may continue with the charge showed Malami’s total disconnect with the law, with the greatest respect to his office.
Malami had said that the Federal Government was considering the options, including proceeding only with the pending counts against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu before the invasion of his house on September 14, 2017.
But Ejiofor said the AGF “should be appropriately guided in law.”
He said, “I implore him to meticulously read the full judgment of the Court of Appeal, immediately comply with orders made therein and possibly consider the most appropriate option of voluntarily resigning, for exposing the Federal Government to this international embarrassment and ridicule.
“Now, for the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government has no options. It has only one option, namely, to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court. And the exercise of this later option shall not constitute a bar to immediate compliance with the order of the Court of Appeal, which directed for the immediate and unconditional release of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“The order made by the Learned Justices of the Court of Appeal is sacrosanct and must be obeyed immediately without further ado.
“Further, the Attorney General of the Federation reference to the charge pending against Onyendu before he left Nigeria in 2017, and the indication that the Federal Government may continue with the charge really shows his total disconnect with the law, with greatest respect to his office.
“It is to be noted that the remaining seven charges that were struck out by the Court of Appeal after it allowed the appeal on the ground that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to try onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is the same charge(with the same charge Number – to wit: FRN vs Nnamdi Kanu, Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, that has been pending against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at the Federal High Court since 2015.
“The prosecution has amended this charge about 7 times. It is the same charge that was amended to include other counts that brought the counts to seven and then to 15. The Federal High Court struck out eight counts and retained seven.
“On appeal, the Court of Appeal struck out the whole charge and held that the lower court had no jurisdiction to try Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. That being so, that charge that has been pending against Kanu since 2015 and containing counts of alleged offences committed by him before he escaped from being killed in Nigeria in 2017 no longer exists. It has been struck out.
“There is therefore no existing charge on the basis of which the Federal High Court can proceed and try Onyendu. Accordingly, as it stands today, there is no criminal charge pending against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“The declaration by the Court of Appeal that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to try Onyendu MAZI Nnamdi Kanu because of the illegality of his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria is an all pervading instrumentality that effectively bars any indictment of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in any court in Nigeria.
“As his forceful abduction in Kenya and rendition to Nigeria violates all known international conventions and protocols to which Nigeria is a state party, no prosecution against him in Nigeria can ever be undertaken. This is because a cause of action cannot arise from a base ground- Ex turpi causa non oritur actio.”
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Additional reports from Punch.