Detained separatist movement leader sues Nigerian government

LAGOSNigeria — Nnamdi Kanu, leader of one of southeast Nigeria’s separatist movements, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has filed a fresh law suit against both the Federal Government of Nigeria and Department of States Services (DSS).

A judgment ordering the unconditional release of Kanu by DSS was issued by Justice, Adeniyi Ademola of Federal High Court Abuja, on December 17, 2015, but he has since been in detention.

The UK based IPOB leader’s lawyer and spokesperson, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, in a Sunday 9, October press briefing stated: “Thirteen days after this order was made, specifically on the 30th day of December, 2015, the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, announced to the whole world during his presidential media chat that Nnamdi Kanu cannot be granted bail by any court in Nigeria.”

“This extra judicial pronouncement by the executive had continued to influence the direction of Nnamdi Kanu’s political trial, as part of the reasons given by the president during this presidential media chat was quoted by the trial court, as constituting the grounds militating against Nnamdi Kanu’s freedom, while delivering ruling on his bail application.”

Frustrated with non-compliance of the Nigerian government toward release of Nnamdi Kanu, his lawyer further added: “It is of elementary knowledge that an order of court is a law, which must be obeyed by all and sundry, including all institutions of government. It is the law that orders of the court no matter how it looks must be obeyed. But the anti-democratic forces have continued to treat with disdain and levity, positive orders of the court granted in favour of Nnamd Kanu, particularly in his politically orchestrated trial.

“It is on the face of this flagrant disobedience to the order of court directing the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu that we formally filed Form 48 (notice of consequences of disobedience to court order) and Form 49 (notice to show cause why the parties named in the application should not be committed for contempt) respectively, on September 28, 2016, before the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court Maitama, Abuja.”

Several IPOB members in Onitsha, southeast largest city, were wounded on November 6, 2016, while protesting detention of their leader. There was a widely reported massive use of force on them by state security operatives.

(Reporting by Adedayo Osho; Editing by Dejan Scepanovic & Robyn Hunter)