Just In: Appeal Court Discharges Nnamdi Kanu, Challenges High Court’s Jurisdiction
The Appeal Court in Abuja has freed Nnamdi Kanu, the controversial head of the banned Indigenous People of Biafra.
Kanu is being sued by the federal government in Abuja’s Federal High Court for 15 counts of crimes, including treasonable felony and terrorism, that are said to have been committed during his separatist activities.
The Federal High Court lacks the jurisdiction to trial him, according to a three-person panel of the Court of Appeal, given his kidnapping and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in flagrant violation of the OAU treaty and protocol on extradition.
The court further held that the Federal Government failed to disclose where Nnamdi Kanu was arrested despite the grave allegations against him
Mr Kanu has repeatedly called for the breakaway of a significant chunk of southern Nigeria to form the Republic of Biafra.
On October 2015, he was arrested by Nigerian authorities on an 11-count charge bordering on “terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.”
He was granted bail on April 2017 for medical reasons.
However, Mr Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after an invasion of his home by the military in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.
He was then sighted in Israel and later continued to rally his supporters in Nigeria to employ violence in achieving secession.
“He has, upon jumping bail, been accused of engaging in subversive activities that include inciting violence through television, radio and online broadcasts against Nigeria and Nigerian State and institutions,” Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami said after Kanu was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria in June 2021.
“Kanu was also accused of instigating violence especially in the Southeastern Nigeria that resulted in the loss of lives and property of civilians, military, para military, police forces and destruction of civil institutions and symbols of authorities.”
Mr Kanu has denied any wrongdoing.