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Just In: Appeal Court acquits Nnamdi Kanu, strikes out FG’s charge

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On Thursday, the Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed the terrorism allegation that the Federal Government had brought against Nnamdi Kanu, the arrested leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, or IPOB.

It cleared him of the seven-count indictment against him that was pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

In a ruling by a three-person panel chaired by Justice Jummai Hanatu, the appellate court said that it was satisfied that the FG had flagrantly broken the law when it extradited Kanu from Kenya to the country to continue his prosecution.

It determined that the Appellant's fundamental human rights had been violated and that such an extraordinary rendition, carried out without following due legal procedure, was a flagrant violation of all international treaties, protocols, and guidelines to which Nigeria is a signatory.

The appellate court noted that FG has not answered the claim that the IPOB leader was in Kenya when he was kidnapped and returned to Nigeria without going through the extradition process.

It declared that FG was "ominously quiet on the question," which was crucial in evaluating whether the trial court still had the authority to carry on with the criminal case that was before it.

"In legal terms, that is an expensive failure, and the Respondent has admitted as much.

The burden of proof for the validity of the Appellant's detention and return from Kenya was on FG, the court ruled, adding that "when a party fails to controvert a deposition by an opponent, the issue not challenged is assumed conceded."

Furthermore, the court cited Nigeria's ratification of the OAU Convention on April 28, 2022, as well as the Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, which it claimed outlined the procedures for transferring wanted individuals between nations.

It was decided that any extradition request had to be made in writing and include a declaration outlining the crimes for which the person was sought.

The appellate court determined that the FG's actions constituted "an abuse of criminal prosecution in general" and tarnished the entire process it started against Kanu.

Even though it accused FG of indulging in "severe abuse of authority," the appellate court noted that "the court will never shrink from calling the Executive to order when it tilts towards Executive irresponsibility."

Nevertheless, the appellate court stated that as the matter is still pending appeal, it would be prejudicial for it to issue an order on the proscription of IPOB.

It was decided that the lower court's proscription order would remain in effect until it was overturned.































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