The Supreme Court of Nigeria yesterday adjourned to the 14th of September, 2023, for definite hearing of the appeal filed by the Federal Government challenging the release of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Africa Today News, New York reports that Nnamdi Kanu has been in custody since his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria from Kenya in November 2021.
Recall that the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had on October 13, 2022, discharged Nnamdi Kanu of alleged treason and terrorism charges against him and dismissed the remaining six-count charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The appellate court faulted the processes adopted by the Federal Government in rendering Kanu back to Nigeria from Kenya on the grounds that it breached all known international protocol.
However, another panel of the same court, on the 28th of October, 2022, granted Federal Government’s prayer for a stay of execution of the court’s earlier decision pending hearing and determination of the instant appeal at the Supreme Court.
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Hearing of the main appeal slated for Thursday was stalled because of the insistence of the Federal Government to file response to an objection raised by Kanu’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), in his brief of argument.
The Supreme Court had at the last adjourned date of April 27, 2023, gave the Federal Government six days to file all her processes and serve same on Kanu.
But at Thursday’s proceeding, Tijani Gazali (SAN), counsel for the Federal Government, informed the court that he needed time to respond to an objection raised by Ozekhome in his brief of argument that was served on him on Wednesday.
Reacting, Ozekhome said that the appellant could respond orally to the objection contained in his brief of argument and allow the main appeal to be heard.
He appealed to the panel of Justices to grant a short adjournment should the appeal be shifted in view of Kanu’s worsening health conditions or alternatively hear his bail application.
‘If this is not possible, my Lords kindly hear the respondent’s application seeking to transfer Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) to the National Correctional Cente’, Ozekhome told the court.
Moved by Ozekhome’s plea, the Presiding Justice, Justice John Inyang Okoro, said Kanu will not die and called for the court’s diary.
He explained that the only available short date is September 14, 2023.
According to him, ‘It would amount to an exercise in futility if any of the application is taken because there is no time to write the ruling and deliver it in three months’ time particularly as the court would proceed on vacation soon.’
Justice Okoro also said that the apex court is occupied with political cases which are time bound.
Meanwhile, the court granted four separate applications brought by the Federal Government for extension of time and to deem as properly filed and served on respondents the processes it filed out of time.