From Fred Itua, Abuja
An Abuja-based constitutional lawyer, Orji Nwafor-Orizu, has urged the Federal Government to release the leader of a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, saying that his continuous detention is a fringe of his fundamental right to freedom of movement.
This latest development was contained in his press statement made available to reporters in Abuja on Saturday.
The IPOB leader was extradited from Kenya by the federal government and was charged with terrorism, among other offences at a high court in Abuja, FCT.
The Court of Appeal did not only discharge the accused by the appellate court but also condemned the action of the Federal Government.
Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Mallami recently admitted that the court only discharged the accused, but wasn’t acquitted, adding that plans are underway to charge him for jumping bail.
Sending his message across, the senior lawyer said since the Appeal Court in its wisdom, didn’t only say that both of them (the High Court and the Court of Appeal) had no jurisdiction to try the matter, but also discharged the accused, the wise thing to do, according to him was to allow him to go home freely.
“The man was discharged, because the high court that tried him had no jurisdiction, because of randation and where he was brought from and all other matters that are related to it. The judgement went further to say, any other charge being given to Kanu is nullified, for lack of jurisdiction,” he said.
“Right or wrong, the appellate court said the High Court had no jurisdiction and if the High Court had jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal will have jurisdiction, but if the High Court doesn’t have jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal won’t have any jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal is on top of the High Court, but the issue of jurisdiction will affect both of them. So the Court of Appeal said that the High Court and each also of themselves had no jurisdiction to try Nnamdi Kanu.
“The only order the court will give is to discharge the accused. So the court can’t acquit Kanu, because acquittal can only come in, after a due trial. When you are discharged because of lack of jurisdiction, it has the same legal effect as an acquittal. So it isn’t a question of rearresting him, because the courts had no jurisdiction.”
Urging the Attorney-General to release Kanu and don’t attempt to politicise the matter, he said that the separatist leader should be released to enjoy his right to freedom.
He said that the duty of a prosecutor was to take a case to court for trial, not for persecution, warning that they shouldn’t personalise the matter.
“Nnamdi Kanu should be a free man. I urge Attorney-General and the FG not to politicise the matter. The prosecutor shouldn’t be a persecutor. He takes the case to court to be tried by the court.
“They are themselves, not the court. Since the court gave its judgement and that is why we have a constitutional democracy and that is why the Court of Appeal said that even what they were doing was executive recklessness.
“Let them not continue executive recklessness and; personalise the matter. If Kanu isn’t released immediately, it will be an affront to the judiciary,” he noted.