From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
The Federal High Court, Umuahia, Abia State, yesterday, ordered the Federal Government to pay the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the sum of N500 million as aggregated damages as a result of his illegal abduction from Kenya and human rights abuse.
This is even as the IPOB leader’s family, through its spokesman, Prince Emmanuel Kanu, has commended the forthrightness of the Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, in upholding the law by ensuring justice was served.
Kanu had, through his special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, approached the court, challenging his extradition from Kenya on June 19, 2022. The court, in the judgment, also ordered the federal government to return the IPOB leader to Kenya, from where he was extradited to Nigeria on June 19, 2021. Justice Anyadike, while delivering the judgement, cited the October 13 Court of Appeal, Abuja ruling, which was delivered in favour of Kanu.
The court, which condemned the arrest, torture and detention of Kanu by agents of the respondents, described the inhuman treatment meted to the IPOB leader as “disgrace and ridicule to an African.” The judge was of the view that the extradition of Kanu from Kenya, without following due process, was a flagrant abuse of his fundamental human rights.
The judge held that the manner Kanu was allegedly handled by agents of the respondents was against Section 34:1(a) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended, adding that the respondents were not able to provide any document from Kenyan government authorising Kanu’s arrest, detention and torture.
The judge, who dismissed a motion by the federal government’s counsel, restraining it from handling the matter, said the Federal High Court Umuahia had the jurisdiction to entertain the suit. He also struck out the claims by counsel to the respondents that an Abia State High Court, presided by Justice Benson Anya, which sat in January 2022, had already decided the subject matter.
The judge rather held that the January 2022 High Court ruling was about 2017 invasion of Kanu’s country home in Afara, Umuahia, while the one before the Federal High Court dealt on Kanu’s arrest, torture and detention in Kenya and Abuja by agents of the respondents.
Speaking to journalists after the judgement, lead counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, Ejimakor, described the ruling as a victory for rule of law. He described the judiciary as the last hope of the common man and advised the federal government to immediately comply with the order of the Federal High Court and return Kanu to Kenya.
Ejimakor, who described Kanu as a man of peace, equally said that IPOB was not a terrorist organisation, hence, it has been winning court cases against the federal government in Nigerian and foreign courts.
After the judgement, Kanu’s kinsmen from Afaraukwu community, members of the Jewish religion and hosts of other supporters of the IPOB leader, went into jubilation, even as the entire streets adjourning the court were cordoned off by heavily armed security personnel.
Meanwhile, the family of the IPOB leader has reacted happily to the Federal High Court’s judgment. Spokesman of the family, Emmanuel Kanu, said: “This is a session of jubilation to men and women of good conscience in this country; we are winning all round. People are beginning to speak out. What we are asking is for the federal government to abide by the decisions of the courts and, also, comply because you cannot make laws and, also, disobey the same laws you have made, it’s impossible.”
While commending the judge of the Federal High Court, Umuahia for her wise decision in toeing the path of justice, Emmanuel said his brother was taken out of Kenya illegally, and up to this moment, the federal government has refused to produce evidence of extradition they claimed to have. The family was of the view that if, at all, they want to bring the IPOB leader back, they must follow due process.
“Like I keep on saying, this is the time and moment the federal government should sit down with Nnamdi Kanu and have genuine discussion. The IPOB leader is part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
On what will happen if the Federal Government refuses to obey the court order, Emmanuel said that would bring anarchy in the country; adding that the whole world was watching.
“As an authority in charge of the country, why would you disobey the court order, when you are supposed to uphold it. Then, what is the legacy of the government at the end of the day, what would they be remembered for? This is a period they should try and make amends.”
Emmanuel said the family would continue to pursue the IPOB leader’s case through every available legal means until justice is finally done.