BREAKING: Nigerian Appeal Court Upholds Ruling Acquitting, Discharging IPOB Leader, Kanu

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The Appeal Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital has upheld the judgment acquitting and discharging the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), one of the lawyers representing the separatist leader on Monday said the court upheld its ruling of October 13, which set Kanu free.

The Nigerian government had sought a stay of execution on the ruling of the Court of Appeal acquitting and discharging Kanu.

The Appeal Court earlier set Kanu free and acquitted him of the charges of terrorism and treasonable felony against him.

But on Monday, the Nigerian government approached the Appeal Court, asking it to stay the execution of the judgment of October 13 which voided the extraordinary rendition of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria.

A three-man panel of justices 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 a signatory to, as well as a breach of the Appellant’s fundamental human rights.

The appellate court further held that the 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 processes.

On that ground, the appellate court held that the government 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 judges held that the Nigerian government’s action tainted the entire proceeding it initiated against Kanu and amounted to “an abuse of criminal prosecution in general.”

The three-man judge, therefore, held thus: “The court will never shy away from calling the Executive to order when it tilts towards Executive recklessness”

It accused the government of engaging in “serious abuse of power.”

But the Nigerian government in a notice of appeal filed before the apex court focused on seven grounds, wants the Supreme Court to stay the execution of the appellate court judgment.

The government, other things, contends that the appellate court panel erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it relied on the manner by which Kanu was renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria after he jumped bail in 2017, to quash the charges against him.

It further insisted that the appeal court acted in error by striking out the charge against the IPOB leader on the premise that the trial judge no longer had the jurisdiction to handle the matter.

The government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, is therefore asking the Supreme Court to, in the interim, suspend the execution of the Court of Appeal verdict, pending the hearing and determination of its appeal.

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