A federal high court in Umuahia, Abia state, has ordered the Nigeria government to return Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to Kenya from where he was extradited in June 2021.
The court also ordered the government to pay Kanu the sum of N500 million as damages for his illegal abduction and violation of his fundamental human rights.
Appeal court on Thursday, October 13, held that the Nigerian government breached all local and international laws in the forceful rendition of Kanu to Nigeria in June 2021, thereby, making the terrorism charges against him incompetent and unlawful.
In a judgment of the three-member panel read by the lead judge, Justice Oludotun Adefope-Okojie, the criminal charges by the Federal Government against Kanu were voided and set aside.
The court further held that having illegally and forcefully renditioned the appellant, the trial court is stripped of jurisdiction to continue to try Kanu.
The appellate court held that the government’s action ‘tainted the entire proceedings’ it initiated against Kanu and amounted to ‘an abuse of criminal prosecution in general’.
The Nigerian government thereafter said it will consider other legal options after a court acquitted of all pending charges.
“The Federal Government will consider all available options open to us on the judgment on rendition while pursuing determination of pre-rendition issues,” Nigeria’s justice minister and attorney-general Abubakar Malami said in a statement by his spokesman Umar Jibrilu Gwandu.
“Let it be made clear to the general public that other issues that predates rendition on the basis of which Kanu jumped bail remain valid issues for judicial determination.”