Supreme Court orders Nnamdi Kanu to stand trial, vacates Appeal court’s ruling

The appeal filed by the Federal Government against the Appeal Court’s decision to dismiss the charges against Nnamdi Kanu has been affirmed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, in sustaining the government’s appeal, determined that Kanu is required to appear before the Federal High Court for trial.

In a decision prepared by Justice Garba Lawal and delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court determined that the Court of Appeal erred in determining that Kanu was ineligible for a second trial on the grounds of the criminality committed against him by the Federal Government subsequent to the invasion of his residence.

Furthermore, the Court determined that despite the Nigerian government’s negligent and illegal removal of Kanu from Kenya, no court has been dissuaded from proceeding with the trial.

According to Justice Lawal, the lawsuit requesting Kanu’s release on the grounds of illicit abduction from Kenya did not reference any Nigerian legislation.

As per the Court’s ruling, Kanu’s current recourse is to initiate a civil action against the act, rather than seeking the removal of the courts’ authority to proceed with his trial on the grounds of purported criminal charges.

The judgement was not attended by Kanu in court, marking the most recent development in a case that has endured for years.

The ruling on Friday was rendered amidst stringent security measures, in response to demands for Kanu’s release made by Ohanaeze and several others.

Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a proscribed secessionist organisation, has been detained since June 2021, when he was re-arrested in Kenya and returned to Nigeria.

He has lodged allegations with his legal representatives that the Federal Government unlawfully transported him to Nigeria and abducted him. The alleged extraordinary rendition has been challenged in court by him.

Following his subsequent apprehension in 2021, he was charged with four felonies: treasonable, conspiracy to perpetrate treasonable, terrorism, illegal importation of radio equipment, and defamation against former President Muhammadu Buhari. He was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Subsequently, 15 offences bordering on terrorism and membership in a proscribed group were added to the amended charges.

In her ruling, trial court Justice Binta Nyako dismissed eight of the fifteen charges, stating that Mr. Kanu had unanswered concerns regarding the remaining seven charges.

Mr. Kanu filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal, which, dissatisfied with the verdict, dismissed the remaining charges and ordered his release.

Surprisingly, the court stayed the execution of its judgement after the Federal Government informed it that it intended to file an appeal with the Supreme Court.

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