Nnamdi Kanu case: The current state of things | NN NEWS


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By Emeka Ugwuonye

Today is yet another sit-at-home in the Eastern parts of Nigeria. In fact, I hurriedly left Enugu this weekend just to avoid being caught up in the puzzling situation on the ground. The situation is puzzling because though the sit-at-home was initiated in support of Nnamdi Kanu’s cause, it continued even after Nnamdi Kanu and his group had relentlessly tried to stop it. In other words, Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB are really not in control of the sit-at-home. I left Enugu in haste because I could get stuck.

Having escaped to a corner of Nigeria where I could move around on Mondays and the rest of the weak, I chose to stop and appreciate the weighty events of the week by presenting to you my assessment and predictions on the case of Nnamdi Kanu. So, let me start by asking: Where are we on the case?

President Buhari has rejected the plea for unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu. He has taken the obviously expected position to put him through trial with the predictable outcome. Any hope that Nnamdi Kanu would be out of detention before the end of this Administration has been dashed. So, the focus is now squarely on what happens in the courts, no longer on what the Igbo politicians, Ohaneze, men of God and the rest would do. Those have failed and attention should be focused on the lawyers and the courts.

As I have repeatedly predicted, the motion to grant Nnamdi Kanu bail will fail. He will not be granted bail this week. The application to transfer him to Kuje Correctional center will also fail. He will be ordered to remain in the custody of DSS. This means that the complete isolation of Nnamdi Kanu from his followers will continue. And also, the application challenging the jurisdiction of the court will fail. The court will rule that it has jurisdiction to try Nnamdi Kanu irrespective of how he was brought back from Kenya. So, the three applications that Nnamdi Kanu’s “lead lawyer” has been hammering upon since June, 2021 will all fail, throwing the defense team back to square 1.

However, there will likely be some light at the end of the tunnel for Nnamdi Kanu this week. For the first time, there could be a judgment that will favor him. It is the case of Fundamental Rights Enforcement filed by Barrister Ejimakor in Abia State, seeking to enforce the rights of Nnamdi Kanu. In this application, Barrister Ejimakor makes what is actually the most sensible legal move so far. Looking at the whole chain of events since last year, the most basic legal question has been on how Nnamdi Kanu was brought into Nigeria from Kenya. That is the rendition question. So much can be made to rest on that question. So, to some extent, that question is a foundational one in that so much may rest on the answer to that question.

Ejimakor brilliantly understands the importance of the rendition question. The question is: Did Nigerian government bring Nnamdi Kanu into Nigeria in accordance with the law or did Nigerian government violate the law and the rights of Nnamdi Kanu in the process of bringing him into Nigeria? Almost every intelligent lawyer or jurist will tell you that Nigerian Government acted illegally and violated the rights of Nnamdi Kanu in order to bring him into Nigeria. I believe that the High Court will on the 19th of this month, Thursday of this week, answer that question. And I am confident that if the Court is ready with its judgment on the 19th, the judgment will be that Nigerian Government violated the law and violated the rights of Nnamdi Kanu. I cannot imagine any standard of legal analysis that would declare lawful the manner in which Nigerian government brought Nnamdi Kanu into Nigeria last June.

The beauty of such judgment is not just that the court gives victory to Nnamdi on such cardinal question. Rather, the beauty of such judgment lies in its strategic implications. Because so much depends on that question, once it is answered in favor of Nnamdi Kanu, it opens the door to other more immediate questions, such as whether it is right for Nigerian Government to continue in what has been declared illegal. In other words,: If you agree that he was brought into Nigeria in an unlawful manner, how can Nigeria government be allowed to reap the benefit of an illegality? A poisoned tree can only produce poisoned fruits. If you violate the law to get Nnamdi Kanu to Nigeria, it means that anything done based on his presence in Nigeria is a continuation of an illegality. That is a strong argument to make in his favor.

How far will the Court in Abia State go in favor of Nnamdi Kanu on Thursday? I don’t want to raise your hopes unduly. But I believe that the court will declare the rendition illegal. I believe that the court will award monetary damages against the Nigerian Government in favor of Nnamdi Kanu. Certainly, the Nigerian Government will not pay any such damages, but it shifts the moral burden in favor of Nnamdi Kanu and against the Government, and this is a heavy burden for the government to bear. Any judgment faulting Nigerian Government is gold to Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. So, to the extent that such a judgment will come is a victory to Kanu and a brilliant success for Barrister Ejimakor.

Indeed, one would wonder why this application was not made a priority all this while. This ought to have been the primary moves made by the defense team. If they had focused on this procedure since June, they would have significantly dented the work of the Government on the case.

Again, there are many reasons why a court may not render judgment on the day it was supposed to do so. But whenever the court gives judgment in the application filed by Barrister Ejimakor, it will be a victory for Nnamdi Kanu. And once any victory comes, it has the tendency to alter the entire direction of the case.

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