Supreme Court annuls previous ruling, says it will try Nnamdi Kanu for terrorism

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The Supreme Court has invalidated a ruling made by the Court of Appeal, stating that it will proceed with the trial of Nnamdi Kanu for terrorism charges. The lower court had dismissed the charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

In its judgment, the Supreme Court criticized the Court of Appeal’s decision and emphasized that the trial court had the authority to hear the case, despite the prosecution’s infringement on Kanu’s rights.

Justice Garba Mohammed, who prepared the judgment, strongly condemned the invasion of Kanu’s residence, describing it as irresponsible. The Supreme Court stressed that there is no law in Nigeria that prohibits a trial from proceeding due to a violation of a suspect’s rights.

Justice Mohammed questioned whether destroying a suspect’s house to obtain evidence should deter the court from pursuing the offense. He stated that if a suspect believes their rights have been violated, they should seek redress through civil proceedings, rather than halting criminal proceedings.

The Supreme Court decided not to align with the Court of Appeal’s ruling, despite acknowledging the violation of Kanu’s rights. The court asserted that the current law does not allow proceedings to be halted solely on the grounds of rights violations.

In his words, Mohammed said, “If the police should destroy the house of a suspect to obtain exhibits, should that diverse the court against entertaining the offence?

“His remedy should be the way of civil proceeding. Proceedings can’t be stopped on account of the violation of the rights of the suspects; that is not our law for now.

“We decided not to go with the court of appeal. Though we condemned the violation of his rights, Nigeria must redeem its image and adhere to the rule of law. If a person has been granted bail, why did you invade his house? That is irresponsible. You shouldn’t blame him for running.

“No legislation in the country stripped the trial court of the jurisdiction to go ahead with Kanu’s case, despite the illegal action of the FG.

“The law must take its course. The Court of Appeal was wrong that the trial court couldn’t try him. The appeal is allowed, and the cross-appeal is dismissed.”

Recall that Kanu was initially arrested in 2015 during the tenure of former Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Following this, he was released on bail in April 2017. However, in September 2017, his residence in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, was invaded by the Nigerian military, prompting him to flee the country.

In June 2021, Nnamdi Kanu was rearrested again in Kenya and transported back to Nigeria without due legal process required by the international procedure of repatriation.

He was brought before the Federal High Court located in Abuja and faced four charges, namely treasonable felony, conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, illegal importation of radio equipment, and defamation of the former President Muhammadu Buhari.

Later on, these charges were withdrawn by Abubakar Malami, the former Attorney General of the Federation. He replaced them with a fresh set of charges, consisting of 14 counts, which included terrorism and membership in a proscribed group, among other offenses.

However, the court decided to reduce the number of charges to seven.

On October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal, situated in Abuja, ruled that the manner in which Kanu was brought back to the country violated Nigeria’s extradition treaty and also breached his fundamental human rights.

Additionally, the appellate court dismissed the terrorism charges that had been filed against Kanu by the Nigerian government. Moreover, they ordered his immediate release from the DSS facility.

Subsequently, the Federal Government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, lodged an appeal against the court’s decision. As a result, they obtained an order from the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the implementation of the court’s judgment.

Nnamdi Kanu’s attorney lodged an appeal on his behalf challenging the order to halt the implementation at the highest court on November 3, 2022.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the decision of the intermediate court, the Federal Government submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court which has continued with the legal proceedings till today’s new development.

9News Nigeria

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