Lawyer laments Kanu’s continued detention

A constitutional lawyer, Prince Orji Nwafor – Orizu, has drawn the attention of President Muhammad Buhari and all relevant authorities to the continued detention of the leader of a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnmdi Kanu, arguing that he should be released since the court lacks the jurisdiction to try him.

Making the call during an exclusive interview with our correspondent recently in his office in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the senior lawyer described Kanu’s continued detention as not only illegal, but also as an infringement on his fundamental human right; right to freedom of movement.

The IPOB leader was arrested and extradited from Kenya to Nigeria in June, 2021 by the Federal Government and was among other offences charged for terrorism, by a Federal High Court in the FCT.

The case, when taken to Court of Appeal, the appellant court didn’t only discharge the accused, but also condemned the action of the Federal Government.

Recall that the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Mallami, SAN, recently admitted that the court really discharged the accused of the charges, but wasn’t acquitted, adding that plans are on the way to charge him for jumping bail.

However, Nwafor – Orizu said, since the appellant court, in its wisdom, did not only say that both of them (the High Court and the Court of Appeal) had no jurisdiction to try the matter, but also discharged the accused, the wise thing to do was to allow him to go home freely.

He said: “The man was discharged, because the High Court that tried him had no jurisdiction and because of rendition and where he was brought from and all other matters that are related to it. The judgement went further to say, any other charge being given to Kanu is nullified, for lack of jurisdiction.

“Right or wrong, the appellant court said the High Court had no jurisdiction and if the High Court had jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal will have jurisdiction, but if the High Court doesn’t have jurisdiction, the Court of Appeal won’t have any jurisdiction.

“The Court of Appeal is on top of the High Court, but the issue of jurisdiction will affect both of them. So the Court of Appeal said that the High Court and also themselves had no jurisdiction to try Nnamdi Kanu.

“The only order the court will give is to discharge the accused. So the court can’t acquit Kanu, because acquittal can only come in, after a due trial. When you are discharged because of lack of jurisdiction, it has the same legal effect as an acquittal. So it isn’t a question of rearresting him, because the courts had no jurisdiction.”

He urged President Buhari, the AGF and other related authorities to as a matter of justice and equity release Kanu and not attempt to politicise the matter.

He said that Nnamdi Kanu should be released to enjoy his right to freedom.

He, however, stated that the duty of a prosecutor is to take a case to court for trial, not for persecution, just as he warned against politicising and personalising the matter.

“Nnamdi Kanu should be a free man. I urge President Buhari, AGF and all the relevant authorities not to politicise or personalise the matter, for the interest of justice and equity. The prosecutor shouldn’t be a persecutor.

“He takes case to court to be tried by the court. They are themselves, but not the court. Since the court gave its judgement and that is why we have constitutional democracy and that is why the Court of Appeal said that even what they were doing was executive recklessness.

“Let them not continue executive recklessness and personalise and politicise the matter. If Kanu isn’t released immediately, it will be an affront to the judiciary,” he noted.

He said even if the FG goes to Supreme Court, Kanu will be a free man, adding that the Court of Appeal has said so in the judgement.

He however wondered why the man should continue be in chain, when a court has declared him a free man.

“So, he should be released as the courts lack jurisdictions to entertain the matter,” the senior lawyer reiterated.

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