Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was discharged and acquitted by Nigeria’s Appeal Court but still detained by the government
The Nigeria Federal Government has given reasons why it has refused to obey the Court of Appeal judgement, which ordered it to release the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The federal government, in an affidavit filed on Monday support of its application to stay the execution of the judgement, described Kanu as “a flight risk person”, insisting that the case against him borders on national security.
Relying on the decided case law in Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Asari Dokubo, FG, argued that once a case touched on national security, the right of the individual affected takes secondary place.
“The Respondent is a flight risk person. It is important to appreciate the gamut of depositions in our application. One of the grounds of our application is that this matter touches on national security of the state.
“We rely on the case of FRN Vs Dokubo, where the Supreme Court held that where national security is threatened or likelihood of it being threatened, human rights take secondary place. Once there is a threat to national security, human rights of any individual can be suspended until such threat is taken care of.
Nnamdi Kanu (middle) with his legal team led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) left
“Once security of the nation is in jeopardy, the individual right may not even exist”, FG argued through its lawyer, Mr. David Kaswe, an Assistant State Counsel in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. It further told the court that there is intelligence report that releasing Kanu from detention would worsen the security situation in the South East region.
But, Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), urged the appellate court to dismiss FG’s application, insisting that it was tantamount to seeking the stay of the liberty of a citizen.
“In fact, my lords, on the contrary, the release of Kanu will actually bring peace and tranquillity to the South East in particular and the nation in general
“This was demonstrated after the judgement of this court that ordered the release of the Respondent. Immediately the judgement was delivered, there was so much joy and happiness in the entire South East. There was so much jubilation and merriment”, Ozekhome added, insisting that Dokubo’s case was different from that of Kanu.
He explained that, while Dokubo applied to be granted bail, pending the determination of the charge against him, in Kanu’s case, the appellate court has already terminated his trial and ordered his release. After it had listened to both sides, a 3-man panel of Justices of the Appellate Court led by Justice Haruna Tsanami, reserved ruling till a date to be communicated to the parties.