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UPDATE: Court Grants Nnamdi Kanu N1 Billion For Unlawful Invasion 

Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu
THEWILL APP ADS 2

January 19, (THEWILL) – An Abia High Court sitting in Umuahia has awarded N1 billion in damages to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, against the Federal Government over the infringement of his Fundamental Human Rights by the military.

In a judgment delivered on Wednesday by Justice Benson Anya, the court declared as illegal, the military invasion of Kanu’s home in Afaraukwu, Umuahia on September 10, 2017, a development which made him flee the country.

The court also ordered the Army and the federal government to apologise to Kanu in three national dailies for the infringement of his fundamental human rights following the September 10, 2017 military invasion of his house.

Justice Benson Anya who gave the orders while delivering judgement on the suit filed by Kanu against the federal government, the Army and six others for allegedly violating his fundamental human rights, declared the raid as unlawful

Kanu, had through his Special Counsel Aloy Ejimakor, filed a suit against the federal government, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Chief of Army Staff, COAS; and the Inspector General of Police, IG for violating his Fundamental rights.

Other Respondents are the Director General of the Department of State Services, DSS; the Abia State Director of DSS; the state Commissioner of Police; and the Army Brigade Commander, Ohafia.

He sought, among other reliefs, “A declaration that the military invasion of his building and premises at Isiama, Afaraukwu Ibeku, Abia State on 10th September, 2017 by the Respondents or their agents is illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and amount to infringement of the Applicant’s fundamental right to life, dignity of his person, his personal liberty and fair hearing as guaranteed under the pertinent provisions of Chapter IV of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (hereafter, CFRN) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act (hereafter, the Charter).”

Justice Anya who read the judgement from 10:05 am to 11:09 am, declared that the issue of military invasion of Kanu’s house on September 10, 2017 “was so notorious that the court cannot turn a blind eye to it.”

He said the Federal Government, the Army and other security agencies made flimsy and ineffectual denials of their involvement in the said invasion instead of proving otherwise.

The Judge put a poser to the Respondents: “Assuming you were not responsible for the invasion, what steps did you take as Government and agents of state responsible for the protection of all citizens including the Applicant, to investigate the invasion and bring the perpetrators to book?”

Justice Anya held that “Nigeria is an integral part of the comity of democratic nations who must respect human rights”, adding that violence, adoption and torture do not resolve but fertilise conflicts.

The court further advised the Federal Government to embrace dialogue and political solution in handling the issue of Nnamdi Kanu in the interest of peace.

The court however declined Kanu’s prayer to be returned to Britain, his country of abode before his “extradition from Kenya.”

It also said that it lacked the competence to abdicate on the issue of Kanu’s “abduction from Kenya” and extraordinary, adding that only Federal High Courts have jurisdiction over extradition matters.

According to the Judge, Kenya is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court, hence, the court cannot entertain the issue of extradition.

The court also struck out the preliminary objections by the Respondents that a state High Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain suit against agencies of federal government, ruling that the objections were “misconstrued and frivolous.”

Responding, Counsel to the Army, Amos Tory, said he was waiting for the copy of the judgement which he would transmit to his clients for study and determination of the next line of action.

In his response, Ejimakor who led Kanu’s defense team, hailed the judgement, saying it has proved that Kanu contrary to allegation, did not jump bail but only escaped for his dear life.

He said that “the judgement means that the bench warrant against Kanu in Abuja court has to be vacated.”

Ejimakor hailed the courage of the court in declaring the military invasion of Kanu’s house illegal.

On the Court’s decline from abdicating on the issue of Kanu’s extradition for lack of jurisdiction, Ejimakor said the legal team would consider other options after careful study of the judgement.