By Steve Oko
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has filed a suit at the Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia, against Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, the DG of National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, for his tortious role in the eight-day ‘false imprisonment’ of the IPOB leader in Kenya.
The latest suit dated November 23, according to Kanu’s Special Counsel, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, “is prompted by newly discovered evidence that implicated the NIA boss beyond the infamous extraordinary rendition.”
It will be recalled that of all the several suits that have emanated from the rendition of Kanu, this is the first against Ahmed Abubakar, either in his personal or official capacity.
Kanu in his statement of claims said that: “On October 14, 2015, Claimant was arrested in Lagos, a few days after his arrival from his base in London, United Kingdom and was subsequently charged with certain offences.
“Following his arrest, Claimant was detained for Eighteen (18) months and was later released on bail in April 2017, whereupon Claimant returned to his said residence at Afara-Ukwu Ibeku, in Umuahia North LGA of Abia State where he stayed and awaited his next court date scheduled for October 17, 2017.
“On or about 10th September 2017, while Claimant was resting at his said residence in Umuahia, the Nigerian Army, assisted by other Security agencies launched lethal military invasions against the Claimant at his said residence in Umuahia.
“In the course of the invasion, Claimant managed to escape to a safe location from where he managed to flee overseas to save his life.
“In the course of time, Claimant instituted a fundamental rights Suit on grounds of the said military invasion and the court held that said invasion amounted to a violation of Claimant’s fundamental rights, whereupon the court awarded the Claimant damages and an order for a public apology and also held that “It is the view of this Honourable Court that the Agent of the First Respondent set out as pythons to terminate the life of the Applicant.” Claimant hereby pleads the Judgment and the Judgment Order as documents Claimant shall rely on at the trial. See Annexures 1 and 2.
“In the course of his sojourns and search for a safe haven, Claimant legally entered the Republic of Kenya on 12th May, 2021. Claimant hereby pleads the relevant copies of Claimant’s passport as a document Claimant shall rely on at the trial. See Annexure 3.
“On 19th June, 2021, acting in bad faith and/or abuse of his public office, the Defendant and his confederates, agents and privies (hereafter: the Defendant), falsely arrested the Claimant at the parking lot of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi Kenya without the authority of the law of the Republic of Kenya, in that the Defendant arrested the Plaintiff without any Kenyan arrest warrant or such other like authority issuing from a Kenyan law enforcement agency, court or government of Kenya.
“Following the said false arrest, the Defendant, acting in bad faith and abuse of his public office, falsely imprisoned the Claimant for Eight (days) at a secret, non-official place in Nairobi, Kenya, whereat the Defendant physically and mentally tortured the Claimant.
“Throughout the duration of the Claimant’s imprisonment, the Defendant – acting in bad faith and abuse of his public office – willfully refused to present or produce the Claimant to a Kenyan police station or court of law of other appropriate Kenyan authority, such as the Kenyan immigration authorities.
“The false imprisonment of the Claimant was without the consent of the Claimant; and the Kenyan government has publicly and categorically denied any role in the arrest and imprisonment of the Claimant in Kenya.
” Following a fundamental rights suit brought by the Claimant against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and others (excluding the Defendant herein) before the Federal High Court, the court – on 26th October 2022 – ruled in favour of the Claimant, stating as follows:
“I declare that the manner of arrest and detention of the Applicant in Kenya, his continued detention in Abuja, his subjection to physical and mental trauma by the Respondents, the inhuman and degrading treatment meted out to the Applicant amounts to a brazen violation of the Applicant’s fundamental right to dignity of his person and threat to life under Section 34 (1)(a) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended)”. Claimant hereby pleads this Judgment Order and the Judgment and shall rely on same at the trial of this suit. See Annexures 4 and 5.
“By virtue of his public office, the Defendant has a public duty to act in good faith, not to abuse his public office and to ensure that the arrest and imprisonment of the Claimant in Kenya was conducted in accordance with law.
“By falsely arresting and imprisoning the Claimant in Kenya, the Defendant breached his statutory duty requiring him to arrest and/or imprison the Claimant in Kenya only in accordance with law.
“The said false arrest and false imprisonment of the Claimant has been condemned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which through its Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, rendered a binding Opinion directing Defendant’s employer (the Federal Republic of Nigeria) to release the Claimant unconditionally and accord him the opportunity of seeking compensation/reparations.
“Consequently, Mr. Kanu’s arrest without an arrest warrant and with no explanation as to the reasons for his arrest violated his rights under article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 9 of the Covenant and principles 2, 4, 10, and 36 (2) of the Body of Principles.”
Kanu made the following prayers:
“A DECLARATION that the Defendant’s arrest of the Claimant and his imprisonment of the Claimant at said location in Nairobi, Kenya amounted to false arrest and false imprisonment.
“A DECLARATION that the Defendant acted in bad faith and/or abused his public office in falsely arresting and falsely imprisoning the Claimant at the said location in Kenya.
“AN ORDER directing the Defendant to pay to the Claimant the sum of N20,000,000,000.00 (Twenty Billion Naira only) being general and exemplary damages.
“AN ORDER of the court directing the Defendant to write and deliver to the Claimant, an unreserved personal letter of apology. The letter of apology shall also be prominently and boldly published full-page in two Nigerian Newspapers of national circulation, namely: Guardian Newspaper and Sun Newspaper.”