From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has asked the Supreme Court to quash the ruling of the Court of Appeal which granted a stay of execution of its order discharging him of the terrorism charges filed against him by the federal government.
Justice Haruna Tsanami had in his ruling last Friday granted the application by the Federal government to stay the execution of the judgment pending the hearing and determination of its appeal at the Supreme Court.
The judge held that the counter affidavit filed by the legal representation of Kanu against the Federal government’s application was misleading.
The Court of Appeal had in a unanimous judgment now under appeal accused the federal government of flagrantly violating all known laws in the way it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.
In the judgment that was delivered on October 13, a three-member panel of the appellate court held that such extraordinary rendition, without adherence to due process of the law, was a gross violation of all international conventions, treaties, protocols and guidelines that Nigeria is signatory to, as well as a breach of the Appellant’s fundamental human rights.
In addition, the appellate court noted that the federal government failed to refute the allegation that the IPOB leader was in Kenya and that he was abducted and brought back to the country without any extradition proceeding.
It held that FG was “ominously silent on the issue”, which it described as very pivotal in determining whether the trial court would still have the jurisdiction to continue with the criminal proceeding before it.
The appellate court held that FG’s action tainted the entire proceeding it initiated against Kanu and amounted to “an abuse of criminal prosecution in general”.
“The court will never shy away from calling the Executive to order when it tilts towards Executive recklessness”, the appellate court held, even as it accused FG of engaging in “serious abuse of power”.
However, not satisfied with the development, Kanu through his legal team, led by Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, filed an appeal predicated on three grounds at the apex court.
By the appeal dated November 3, the appellant (Kanu) is seeking an order allowing the appeal, and the setting aside in its entirety the decision of the Court of Appeal, made on October 28, 2022, staying the execution of the judgement delivered on October 13, 2022.
In addition, Kanu wants an order of the Supreme Court restoring the efficacy of the judgement of the court below which has not in any way been set aside by a higher court.
Court documents disclosed that the appellant, who is in the custody of the respondent, wished to be present at the hearing of the appeal.
In ground one of his notice of appeal, Kanu posited that the court below erred in law when it proceeded to hear and determine an application for a stay of execution of judgment in a criminal appeal, brought under Order 6 Rule 1 of the Court of Appeal Rules, 2021, and Section 17 of the Court of Appeal Act of 2004, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
On grounds two, the appellant submitted that the court below erred in law when it failed to properly assess or evaluate or appraise the evidence led by, and on behalf of the Appellant, by Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Esq.
“The court below failed to properly evaluate and ascribe proper evidential or probative value to the Appellant’s Counter Affidavit filed on the 21st day of October 2022,” Kanu stated.
The Appellant further contended that the fact that a notice of appeal has substantial and arguable grounds for appeal, is not a special circumstance to warrant the grant of a stay of execution.
Kanu’s lawyer argued that “it is not every case where grounds of appeal raise point or points of law, that stay of execution will be granted.
“That by staying execution of a judgment that was essentially declaratory, the lower court which ought to defend the integrity of the judicial process literally overruled itself and vacated its own judgement even before the apex court has heard it,” Ozekhome submitted.