• Three Justices on Appeal Court panel transferred • Amadi warns FG against poor legal analysis
• IPOB: We’re ready to meet FG at Supreme Court • Police arrest IPOB commanders in Ebonyi
All eyes will be on the Supreme Court today, as the apex court hears the appeal filed by the Federal Government to set aside the Appeal Court judgment on the treasonable felony trial that freed Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Federal Government, in the notice of appeal it hinged on seven grounds, wants the apex court to stay the execution of the judgment the appellate court delivered on October 13.
It is, among other things, arguing that the Appeal Court panel of three justices erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it relied on the manner Kanu was renditioned from Kenya to Nigeria to quash the entire charges against him after he jumped bail a trial court granted to him in 2017.
Government also maintained that the appellate court acted in error by striking out the charge against the IPOB leader on the premise that the trial judge no longer had the jurisdiction to handle the matter.
The Federal Government is, therefore, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, praying the apex court to in the interim, suspend the execution of the Court of Appeal verdict, pending the hearing and determination of its appeal.
Recall that the appellate court had in a unanimous judgment accused FG of flagrantly violating all known laws in the way it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.
It held that such extraordinary rendition, without adherence to due process of the law, was a gross violation of all international conventions, treaties, protocols and guidelines that Nigeria is signatory to, as well as a breach of the appellant’s fundamental human rights.
The appellate court held that FG’s action tainted the entire proceeding it initiated against Kanu and amounted to an abuse of criminal prosecution.
“The court will never shy away from calling the Executive to order when it tilts towards Executive recklessness,” the appellate court held, even as it accused FG of engaging in “serious abuse of power.”
The outcome of the apex court’s hearing on the matter will determine what direction the protracted trial of the IPOB leader is going since he was apprehended in October 2015 in a Lagos hotel after he flew into the country from his base in United Kingdom, where he is a Director of Radio Biafra.
Meanwhile, the three justices that sat on the Court of Appeal panel that quashed the 15-count terrorism charge preferred against Kanu have been transferred from their various divisions.
It was gathered that the three appellate court justices were transferred four days after they delivered the judgment that discharged the embattled IPOB leader. While the presiding Justice, Jummai Hanatu Sankey, who was in the Gombe Division of the court, has been moved to Awka Division; Justice Oludotun Adetope-Okojie, who delivered the lead judgment, was transferred to Owerri, and the third member of the panel, Justice Ebiowei Tobi, was moved to Gombe.
A memo dated October 17, which was signed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, noted that the new posting for the justices was with immediate effect as they were expected to report to their new stations by October 21.
DESPITE representations and pleas by rights groups and Ohanaeze Ndigbo to government to exploit the appellate court ruling as a window for political solution to the IPOB secessionist agitations, FG last week filed its appeal at the apex court.
Reacting to the development, Director of Abuja School of Social and Political Thought (ASSPT), Prof. Sam Amadi, said government should always carry out due diligence before rushing to court.
Amadi, who is also a lawyer, said: “The acts of the Federal Government in illegally bringing Kanu back to face trial shows lack of due diligence and poor legal policy analysis.
“The fact that the Court of Appeal has to make this declaration is evidence that the quality of legal advice available to government is pathetically poor. It casts doubt on the competence of State House lawyers and officials in the Ministry of Justice.
“We know that even in developed democracies, the profile of the Attorney General determines the quality of administration of justice in those countries.
“I think that in 2023, the new President should appoint someone who has good understanding of law and policy and not necessarily someone who is successful in law practice, because there are many factors besides intelligence that determine success in legal practice.”
IPOB has asked FG to obey verdict of the Court of Appeal of October 13. The group, however, said it was ready to meet with government at the Supreme Court today.
In a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, IPOB reiterated that no amount of threat or intimidation would make it retreat from the Biafra Restoration project.
The separatist group also accused security agencies of being responsible for truck drivers’ road blockade protest for the release of its leader, Kanu. It warned security agencies to discontinue with its agenda of road and food blockade, sabotage or face confrontation.
Ebonyi State Police Command, at the weekend, said it has arrested Commanders of IPOB/Eastern Security Network (ESN), in a thick forest, close to Opeke River, in Omege Village of Agba community, Ishielu Council.
During their arrest, the combined team of police, military and DSS also recovered assorted arms, ammunition, military uniforms and other incriminating exhibits from the criminals.
In a statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Chris Anyanwu, he said: “The team after dislodging the criminal elements and taking over the ground, the camp, which they christened ‘Igbo Bu Igbo Training School Camp’, was ransacked and destroyed. Equally, a wooden bridge under construction intended to aid the miscreants in their coming in and going out, was dismantled.
“The operation spearheaded by the Command’s tactical teams and assisted by the military and DSS in the state, was prompted by quantum pieces of reliable evidence, elicited from interrogation of Nnamdi Ngwuta Obaji, aka State Commander No. 3, and another operative of the outlawed group, Felix Ogudu, who were earlier arrested.”