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Saturday 3 February 2024

Nnamdi Kanu: The Controversial Supreme Court Judgment And The IPOB Resolution

  Nnamdi Kanu: The Controversial Supreme Court Judgment And The IPOB Resolution

May we refresh the memory of the public that on December 15, 2023, the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered a judgment against Nnamdi Kanu that left many conscientious global observers bewildered and disillusioned as to the inept, corrupt tendencies of the Nigerian Judiciary. The bereft decision it made while acknowledging the unlawfulness of Kanu's kidnap and extraordinary rendition from Kenya, cleared those suspicions about the independence and law-based self-directiveness of the Apex Court in making decisions.

During the proceedings, the Justices acknowledged the illegality of the Nigerian government's actions in kidnapping and extraordinary renditioning Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, yet upturned the judgement of the appeal court of 13th October, 2022 which summarily discharged and acquitted Kanu, based on the premises and process through which he was brought to stand trial by the Nigeria government.

The Supreme Justices also affirmed that Kanu did not jump bail – as a consequence of the brutal assault and assassination plot by the Nigerian army on him, in his home on 14th September, 2017 – which led to the loss of over 28 innocent unarmed civilians and ultimately resulted to his flight out of Nigeria to secure his life. 

This extrajudicial act by the Nigerian government cum military, is in clear violation of the does and does nots of the 'Bail pending trial' clause encoded in the constitution, as well as international law. Despite this serial acknowledgment, the Supreme Court went on to revert the case of the Federal High Court - whom a year earlier had resolved, it had no jurisdiction or "judicial might" to prosecute Mazi Kanu, thereof sending the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which gave its judgement on the 13th October, 2022.

The essential question that bothers all conscientious observers on this issue is; on what premises did the Supreme Court decided to overturn the landmark and airtight decision of the Appeal Court, and revert back the case to the High Court? The suspicion deepens when one considers the report that, the Justices were in synergy and the judgement was not a unanimous one, indicating disgruntlement and fatigue amidst some of Justices, over the clear travesty of justice.

The acknowledgment and justification of the illegality of extraordinary rendition by the Nigerian Supreme Court raises ethical and legal concerns. The Supreme Court in affirming this breach of international law literally, assented its culpability in the crime. 

Its decision to return the case to the Federal High Court - after taking cognizance of the self-evidential nature of the case, rather than upholding the resolution of its subordinate Court of Appeal, creates a paradoxical scenario, leaving many to question the motives behind such unlegal move.

While some argue that the Justices may have been under pressured into delivering a compromised judgment against Nnamdi Kanu, others point to a strategic game being played by the Supreme Court justices in collaboration with the Federal government. 

The fear of the legal, political and diplomatic implication of affirming the illegality of Kanu's extraordinary rendition - as the Apex court of the land, might have led the Justices to take an unconventional route, by passing the responsibility back to the High Court, to source for a better means of bending the law to do their nefarious bidding.

By reverting the case file to the Federal High Court, the Justices intends to "washed their hands" of a potential fallout from affirming the illegality of Kanu's extraordinary rendition. However, this clearly compromises the courage and independence of the Apex Court in judicial decision making, and has inadvertently compelled the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) movement to lose faith and confidence in the Nigerian Judiciary, and has promised to look for other means to resolve with the Federal government, the incarceration of her leader, and the Biafra question.

The controversial judgment against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu by the Supreme Court of Nigeria on December 15th, 2023, remains a travesty of justice, which as reported is acknowledged by presiding Justices themselves. The acknowledgment of the illegality of extraordinary rendition, coupled with the decision to return the case to the Federal High Court, instead of making a law-based decision to uphold the judgement of the appeal court, leaves a lingering sense of unease. 

As Nigeria as a state grapples with the implications of this controversial decision given the fact that the IPOB movement has ultimately resolved to pass a vote of no confidence on the Nigeria Judiciary as not being competent and reliable enough to give an informed and salient decision, the judiciary battles to restore its already lost integrity, independence, and commitment to upholding justice, even in the face of political pressure.

Written By Chima O. Biafra

Edited By Enenienwite Ikechukwu

For Family Writers Press International

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