IPOB PRESS RELEASE
The Courts are aiding and abetting the Federal Government’s illegal detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu
This statement is intended to address how the courts have unfairly assisted the federal government to illegally detain Mazi Nnamdi Kanu for the past two and half years.
First, Sequel to the infamous extraordinary rendition that saw him to Nigeria, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was (on 29th June 2021) secretly arraigned and without benefit of his Counsel of record before the Federal High Court, Abuja and said Court wrongfully ordered him detained with the DSS, instead of a prison facility, which is a violation of the provisions of the Nigeria Prisons Act and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act on awaiting trial defendants. Further, the secrecy of this arraignment and without notice to a Counsel that was well-known to the court violated KANU’s constitutional right to Counsel of his choice and the right to have his trial in public.
Second, under the pertinent provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s initial detention was required to have terminated after 90 days or was subject to renewal after 90 days pursuant to written application by the prosecution but this was not done, thus rendering illegal the entire period of his detention after the initial 90 days. This illegality was achieved through the instrumentality of the Federal High Court that allowed the detention to continue without a formal application and an enrolled order.
Third, Kanu has no case with the DSS. So, he has no business being detained by the DSS. Kanu’s case is with the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in which case he ought to be regarding as an awaiting trial inmate that should not be detained in a security agency cell but in a proper correctional facility that, by law, caters to awaiting trial inmates. The truth therefore is that the Court ordered Kanu detained by the DSS as a purely punitive measure, knowing fully well that the DSS was complicit in his rendition and torture in Kenya and that a holding cell such as where he is detained at the DSS will provide the maximum discomfort and threat to his health and well-being.
Fourth, The incessant post-rendition amendments of charges and the consequential adjournments allowed by the Federal High Court to the Nigerian government ensured that KANU’s case stayed in the Federal High Court for too long before it ultimately landed at the Court of Appeal. Recall that Kanu was renditioned for 4 count charges only, none of them bordering on terrorism but the Federal High Court ignored all the laws on point and leniently allowed the Federal Government the freewill to abandon all but one of the 4 pre-rendition charges and went abroad with 15 new counts of terrorism charges and the long adjournments brought by them. This unlawful conduct would not have been possible without the acquiescence of the court.
Fifth, when the matter finally made its way to the Court of Appeal, it was again subjected to a slew of adjournments at the instance of the government, which claimed at each juncture that it wanted to amend its brief of argument. This occasioned a lot of inordinate delays that permitted the Nigerian government to get more free jail time on Kanu without the benefit of a conviction. Even though the Court of Appeal eventually held for Kanu, a court of equity, as it were, is supposed to be very reluctant to allow any prosecutorial misconduct that enables the government to lengthen the detention of an un-convicted defendant.
Sixth, It’s not acceptable, even by the lowest standards of fairness, that it took the Court of Appeal only two weeks to undo a sound judgment that discharged Nnamdi Kanu from his long and tortuous seven years of ordeal with the criminal justice system in Nigeria. Recall that Kanu was first arrested and charged in 2015 and the judgment discharging him came in 2022. Recall also that it is the same Court that discharged Kanu that quickly turned around to stay its own judgment. In effect, the Court sat on appeal over its own judgment and took only two weeks to reverse itself.
Seventh, when the case ended up at the Supreme Court, it was again another season of delays, not occasioned by Kanu or his defense team but by the government and the court. That it took well beyond a year for the Supreme Court to review what the Court of Appeal had done makes it profoundly clearer that the court, wittingly or unwittingly, abetted the extra more than one year of pre-trial detention that was given to the Nigerian government on a platter.
Finally, on the issue of delay by the Supreme Court in transmitting KANU’s case to the Federal High Court as it stated it will do since 15th December 2023, we are convinced that this delay is designed to ensure KANU’s perpetual detention without trial because they have no case against him. Truth be told, Mazi Nnamdi KANU’s case is a simple case of political detention gone haywire; and it has nothing to do with any clear violation of the law on his part. We must therefore warn and make it crystal clear that if the intention of the Nigerian Government is to keep Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in punitive solitary confinement and indefinite detention in the hope that he will renounce his God-ordained leadership of the Biafran self determination effort, then they are mistaken.
COMRADE EMMA POWERFUL MEDIA AND PUBLICITY SECRETARY FOR IPOB.