The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu today celebrates his second consecutive reminiscent of birthday under the custody of the Department of State Service DSS.
Mazi Kanu despite the different rulings by competent courts of competent jurisdictions declaring freed and acquitted has been perpetually subjected to solitary confinement by the federal government.
In the spirit of solidarity and absolute loyalty to the IPOB’s leader, Kanu, his lead Counsel, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor Esq pens to resonate hope through the dungeon of the oppressor’s contraption to bring strength and courage to his indefatigable client.
His message: “On this special day, I want to wish our indefatigable client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, a memorable birthday. May the light of hope shine through the darkness of the dungeon and bring you strength and courage. Remember that you are not alone, and we are here supporting you.
Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is a victim of extreme prejudice and injustice in the hands of the Nigerian State. From October, 2015 when he was first arrested; the order of the Magistrate Court which admitted him to bail and the subsequent order of the Federal High Court which ordered his unconditional release, were all ignored by the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN).
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was eventually granted bail by the Federal High Court per Hon. Justice Binta Nyako on the 25th April, 2017 and he was released on the 28th April, 2017, upon the swift perfection of the harsh bail conditions.
Whilst Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was enjoying the bail granted by the court, and preparing for his next court appearance scheduled to hold on the 14th October 2017; his ancestral home in Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State was between the 10th and 14th September 2017, invaded by a combined team of Nigerian security forces conspicuously led by the Nigerian Army. During this murderous and bloody invasion, over 28 unarmed and innocent civilians were gruesomely murdered. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who was the target of the onslaught, managed to escape only by an act of providence.
There is no gain saying the fact that the bloody attack was targeted at eliminating Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at all cost and by any means; if not, assuming without conceding that the FGN was only interested in arresting him, they would have waited for him to appear in court, since they already knew they had a date with him in court on the 14th October 2017.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was consequently forced into an involuntary exile.
Since the Federal Government of Nigeria and its agents failed to kill Mazi Nnamdi Kanu during the murderous invasion of his ancestral home, they continued their hot pursuit and on the 19th of June, 2021, he was violently accosted at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya, by about 20 (Twenty) agents of the FGN, who abducted him, handcuffed, blindfolded and bundled him into a waiting vehicle and sped away. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s abductors took him to a nondescript private house (not a police station or other official holding facility) somewhere in Nairobi, Kenya, and chained him to the floor, and subjected him to all forms of torture and inhuman treatment.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was held in the aforesaid tortuous condition for eight (8) days, and was subsequently smuggled him into Nigeria on the 27th June, 2021.
Throughout the period of illegal detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya, he was not subjected to any extradition hearing or proceedings before he was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria.
On the 29th of June, 2021, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was brought before the trial court, without any notice to his counsel or any legal representation whatsoever. The court consequently directed that he be remanded in custody of the State Security Service. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been in the said custody till date.
Following the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the prosecution made successive amendments to the earlier five count charge pending against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and eventually amended it to a 15-count charge on the 17th day of January, 2022.
Upon being served the 15-count amended charge, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s Legal Team, ably led by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, filed a Notice of Preliminary Objection challenging the jurisdiction of the Honourable Court to try Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of the alleged offences, in view of the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
Upon the hearing of the Notice of Preliminary Objection, the court per Hon. Justice Binta Nyako, delivered its ruling on the 8th day of April, 2022, and consequently struck out 8 counts and retained 7 counts.
Being dissatisfied with the decision of the court retaining the aforesaid counts, on the 29th day of April, 2022, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team led by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, appealed against the said decision.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s appeal was heard by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Judicial Division, on the 13th day of September, 2022.
While delivering their judgment on the 13th day of October, 2022, the most respected and fearless Justices of the Court of Appeal, unanimously found and held, that the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, which was not denied in any way by the Federal Government, is a flagrant and egregious violation of international laws and treaties on extradition, which Nigeria is party to and thus, bound by.
The learned Justices further condemned the executive recklessness and lawlessness exhibited by the FGN, in the abduction and extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria.
The Court further held that pursuant to section 15 of Extradition Act, CapE25, LFN, 2004, since Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was not subjected to any extradition proceedings, that he cannot be tried even for the alleged offences he was facing before he was forced to flee for his life in September, 2017 or for any other offence.
The three learned jurists unanimously held that the extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu constitutes an absolute bar to any subsequent criminal prosecution against him before any court in Nigeria, having not been lawfully rendered to Nigeria.
The Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, which had been pending against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu since 2015, was consequently terminated and struck out, and Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was discharged. The court further prohibited his trial before any court in Nigeria, and his further detention.
Since the abduction of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in Kenya and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria, other than the Court of Appeal judgment of 13th October, 2022, there have been other judicial and quasi-judicial pronouncements all condemning the FGN for the egregious violation of both International and Domestic Laws in their criminal abduction and extraordinary rendition of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and also ordering the Federal Government to release him unconditionally.
For instance, on the 20th July, 2022, the United Nations Human Rights Council Working Group on Arbitrary Detention stated in the communication to the Federal Government of Nigeria after considering the circumstances of the case, that the appropriate remedy would be for the Government of Nigeria to release Mazi Nnamdi Kanu immediately and unconditionally, and that he be compensated.
Furthermore, on 26th October, 2022, a Federal High Court sitting in Umuahia, Abia State, directed that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu should be released or sent back to Kenya. The Court further awarded compensation in the sum of ₦500,000,000.00 (Five hundred million naira only) in favour of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
All the foregoing decisions/orders were ignored by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Rather than comply, with the judgment of the Court of Appeal which discharged Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and prohibited his further detention and trial, the FGN appealed against the judgment. On the 28th day of October, 2022, the FGN, through another panel of the Court of Appeal different from the one that delivered the judgment; obtained an unprecedented order staying execution of the judgment of the same Court of Appeal, and thus stayed the liberty of a citizen, which is a constitutionally guaranteed right.
The order staying the liberty of Mazi Nnamdi in a criminal proceeding, was premised on purely civil statutory provisions and case laws, which is totally unheard of both in Nigeria and anywhere else in the world.
After obtaining the unprecedented order staying the execution of the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the Federal Government went to sleep and refused to prosecute its appeal. The processes they reluctantly filed at the Supreme Court were all withheld from Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team, notwithstanding the fact that the prosecution undertook to serve the said processes.
Furthermore, it was through the relentless efforts of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team led by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, that the appeal was eventually fixed for hearing before the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 27th April, 2023.
On the 27th April, 2023 when the matter came up before the Supreme Court, the Federal Government sought for an adjournment to enable them file a response to the pending processes before the court, the matter was consequently adjourned to 11th May, 2023.
On the 11th May, 2023, the Federal Government again sought for an adjournment to enable them respond to the Preliminary Objection filed by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s legal team. The Supreme Court, again, indulged them, and the matter was consequently adjourned to 14th September, 2023, for definite hearing.
The appeal earlier scheduled for definite hearing could not go on on the said 14th September, 2023, because of the court’s annual vacation. No new date has been fixed for the hearing of the appeal.
There is no gainsaying the fact that the Federal Government of Nigeria is using every tactics at their disposal, to ensure that their own appeal lodged before the Supreme Court, is not heard and that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is detained indefinitely in solitary confinement.
However, as we have consistently maintained, the wheels of justice may grind slowly but it will certainly grind exceedingly fine at the end.
This new year shall herald Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s total and unconditional freedom.
Dear Ezigbo UmuChineke, friends, family, well-wishers, and associates, please join me in saying words of prayers and good wishes for this quintessential being as we commemorate his birthday today. ✨
Sir Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Esq.
IPOB’s Lead Counsel
25th September, 2023