By Ogbonnaya Ikokwu
A Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, has ordered the Federal Government to pay the leaders of the Indigenous People of Biafra Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the sum of N500 million as damages following his illegal abduction and human rights abuse from Kenya.
The Court also ordered the Federal government to return him to Kenya from where he was extradited to Nigeria on June 19, 2021.
The Court presided by Justice E . N Anyadike, insisted that the extradition of Kanu from Kenya without recourse to the legal process was a flagrant abuse of his fundamental human rights.
He held that the respondent failed to disprove the claims of the applicant that he was arrested, blindfolded, tortured, and chained to the ground for eight days in Kenya before his extradition to Nigeria.
Kanu, through his special Counsel, Aloy Ejimakor, had approached the court challenging his extradition from Kenya on June 19, 2022.
Ejimakor told the court that the suit is sui generis (of a special class) and was primarily aimed at redressing the infamous unlawful expulsion or extraordinary rendition of Kanu, which is a clear violation of his fundamental rights under Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, as well as Chapter IV of the Nigerian Constitution.
He said, ‘In addition to the rendition, I am asking the Court to redress the myriad violations that came with the rendition, such as the torture, the unlawful detention and the denial of the right to fair hearing which is required by law before anybody can be expelled from one country to the other.
“I am also seeking to halt his prosecution and restore him to the status quo before his rendition on 19th June 2021.
“You will recall that on January 19, 2022, the High Court of Abia State decided that portion of violation of Kanu’s fundamental rights that occurred in 2017. Even as I had made claims that bordered on rendition, the Court declined jurisdiction on grounds that rendition, being related to extradition, lies within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Federal High Court. This is what informed my decision to initiate the suit before the Federal High Court.
“To be sure, the extraordinary rendition of Nnamdi Kanu, triggered myriad legal questions that cut across multiple jurisdictions in Nigeria and even triggered the international legal order, to boot. In other words, the rendition has expanded the matter of Kanu far beyond the realms of the Abuja trial and opened up new legal frontiers that must be ventilated to the hilt before other courts and tribunals within and without Nigeria.
“Thus, this very case before the Federal High Court in Umuahia is one of such that is aimed at seeking a definitive judicial pronouncement on the constitutionality of the extraordinary rendition. The ones in the United Kingdom, Kenya, African Union, and the United Nations are in addition.
“I would like to seize this opportunity to express my profound appreciation to the highly competent and hardworking team of lawyers that I am leading in the prosecution of this complex suit. Special mention must be made of Barristers Patrick Agazie, Ifeyinwa Nworgu, Tochukwu Arugbuonye, Franklin Amandi, Ohaeto Uwazie and Mandela Umegborogu”.
“For ease of reference and avoidance of any doubt, the following are the specific reliefs that I requested in the Suit”.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the judgment, Ejimakor said the judgment has shown that the court still remains the last hope for the common man.
He called on the federal government to obey the Court order and return Kanu to Kenya.