The N50 billion lawsuit filed by the embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, against the Federal Government has been adjourned by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The adjournment came after the IPOB leader’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, informed the court that he had filed a notice for a change of counsel.
Ejimakor stated that he would be taking over the case from Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), who is said to have filed the suit on April 7, 2022.
The presiding judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo, however, instructed Ejimakor to ascertain if a similar matter was pending before any sister court or if a judgment had been delivered in a similar suit.
Notably, no counsel appeared for the defendants on Monday, prompting the judge to order the issuance and service of a hearing notice on them for the next adjourned date.
Justice Ekwo subsequently announced April 27 for further hearing of the suit.
Nnamdi Kanu’s Suit Against FG
In the case with reference number FHC/ABJ/CS/462/2022, Kanu has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as the first and second defendants. The basis of his lawsuit revolves around the alleged infringement of his rights. Kanu claims that he was unlawfully taken from Kenya and forcibly returned to Nigeria for the purpose of facing trial.
Kanu is seeking the court’s intervention to ascertain whether the manner in which he was abducted in Kenya and subsequently transported to Nigeria aligns with the existing laws and regulations.
Particularly, he cited “the provisions of Article 12 (4) of the African Charter on human and peoples rights (ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Article/Part 5 (a) of the African Charter’s principles and guidelines on human and peoples’ rights while countering terrorism in Africa.”
Kanu is also requesting the court to determine whether he can be legally tried for the offences stated in counts 1 to 14 of the 15-count amended charge. He argues that these counts do not align with the offences for which he was brought to Nigeria.
In his legal petition, the leader of IPOB is seeking various reliefs, including his release from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS). He is also seeking an order to prevent the defendants from proceeding with the prosecution of criminal charge no: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, which is currently being heard by Justice Binta Nyako in a sister court.
Furthermore, Kanu is requesting the court to award him the sum of N100 million as compensation for the expenses incurred in pursuing this legal action.
Meanwhile, the Federal government and the Attorney General of the Federation had in a notice of preliminary objection dated Jun 6, 2022, but filed June 27, 2022, prayed the court to dismiss the suit, describing it as “an abuse of court process.
The defendants put forth a single argument, contending that Kanu had previously filed a lawsuit with identical facts in a Federal High Court, Umuahia Division.
Additionally, they asserted that both defendants were involved in that particular lawsuit.
As per the defendants’ perspective, this renders the current lawsuit an abuse of the court process, thereby depriving the court of its jurisdiction to hear the present case.