The Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Wednesday, ordered the Federal Government to pay N500 million as damages to the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, for forcefully abducting and renditioning him from Kenya in June last year.
Presiding Judge, Justice Evelyn Anyadike, also declared Kanu’s extraordinary rendition from Kenya as illegal and a gross violation of his fundamental human rights.
Kanu, had through his Special Counsel, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, challenged his “abduction and extraordinary rendition from Kenya without any court warrant”, and demanded his restitution to his country of abode, Britain or Kenya where he was before the abduction in June 19, 2021.
Kanu’s lawyer also asked the court to “redress the myriad of violations that came with his rendition, such as the torture, 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.
He demanded N25 billion as damages for the gross violation of his rights and the torture he was subjected to both in Kenya and Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government in its preliminary objections, argued that the matter had already been entertained by the Abia High and that the said incident did not occur within the jurisdiction of the court.
But the court struck out the preliminary objections, saying that where an incident occurred in two states any federal high court in either of the states had jurisdiction over the matter, stressing that violation of Kanu’s rights began in Afaraukwu Umuahia and continued in Kenya.
The Court also held that Kanu’s lawyer had successfully established a case of torture against his client which the defendants laboured in vain to deflate.
In considering the prayer for damages, Justice Anyadike held that Kanu had been “exposed to global ridicule which requires global cleansing”.
The Court, therefore, awarded N500 million in damages against the Federal Government.
The Respondents had no representation in the Court but Kanu’s lawyer, Ejimakor thanked the court for granting justice to his client.
Later in an interview, Ejimakor said the judgement was a victory for the oppressed people and commended the judiciary for remaining the last hope of the common man.
He urged the Federal Government to obey the judgement and other similar rulings in Kanu’s favour and release him without further delay.
Ejimakor further told the Federal Government to return Kanu to Kenya where he was before his abduction by the agents of the Government on June 19 2021.
He insisted that IPOB is not a terror organisation contrary to claims by the Federal Government.
Ejimakor said that terror organisations do not have Defense Counsel anywhere in the world unlike IPOB which has identifiable lawyers all over the world.
He called for the de-proscription of the pro-Biafra movement and the release of all its members in different security detention facilities.
Other members of Kanu’s legal team present at the court were Patrick Agazie, Ifeyinwa Nworgu, Tochukwu Arugbuonye, Franklin Amandi, Ohaeto Uwazie and Mandela Umegborogu.
National President of Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, Igboayaka. O Igboayaka was also present at the court.
Igboayaka called on President Buhari to show he had respect for the rule of law and release Kanu without further hesitations.
He said that the entire Igbo youths both at home and abroad had continued to stand firm behind Kanu who he described as a rare hero.
Below are the eight-point reliefs sought by Kanu which were all granted except the N25 billion in damages which was slashed to N500 million:
“1, A DECLARATION that the arrest of the Applicant in Kenya by the Respondents’ agents without due process of law is arbitrary, and the Respondents’ enforced disappearance of the Applicant for eight (8) days and their refusal to produce the Applicant before a Kenyan Court for the purpose of Applicant’s extradition are illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against arbitrary arrest, to his personal liberty and to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.
“2, A DECLARATION that the detention of the Applicant in a non-official secret facility in Kenya and the torture of the Applicant in Kenya by the Respondents’ agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right against unlawful detention, torture and to a fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter).
“3, A DECLARATION that pursuant to Article 12(4) of the Charter, the expulsion (or extraordinary rendition) of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria by the Respondents without a decision taken in accordance with the law of Kenya is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right to a fair hearing and not to be expelled from a State Party to the Charter except by virtue of a decision taken in accordance with the law, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.
“4, A DECLARATION that any criminal prosecution of the Applicant for the purpose of which the Respondents unlawfully expelled the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amounts to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right to fair hearing, as enshrined and guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of CFRN and the Charter.
“5, AN ORDER OF INJUNCTION restraining and prohibiting the Respondents from taking any further step in any criminal prosecution of the Applicant enabled by the said unlawful expulsion of the Applicant from Kenya to Nigeria.
“6, AN ORDER mandating and compelling the Respondents to forthwith restitute or otherwise restore the Applicant to his liberty, same being his state of being as of 19th June 2021; and to thereupon repatriate the Applicant to his country of lawful domicile (to wit: the United Kingdom) to await the outcome of any formal request the Respondents may file before the competent authorities in Britain for the lawful extradition of the Applicant to Nigeria.
“7, AN ORDER mandating and compelling the Respondents to issue an official Letter of Apology to the Applicant for the infringement of his fundamental rights; and publication of said Letter of Apology in three (3) national dailies.
“8, AN ORDER mandating and compelling the Respondents to pay the sum of N25,000,000,000.00 (Twenty-Five Billion Naira) to the Applicant, being monetary damages claimed by the Applicant against the Respondents jointly and severally for the physical, mental, emotional, psychological, property and other damages suffered by the Applicant as a result of the infringements of Applicant’s fundamental rights by the Respondents.”