Tensions Rise as Federal High Court Gears Up for Nnamdi Kanu Trial

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Nnamdi Kanu
IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu
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Heavy Security As Trial Resumes

The Federal High Court in Abuja is currently under tight security as the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), resumes. Kanu faces charges of terrorism and treasonable felony.

Access to the court, near the Federal Ministry of Justice headquarters, is restricted, allowing entry only to individuals on a Department of State Services (DSS) vetted list.

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This continuation of the trial follows the ’s decision on December 15, 2023, allowing the Federal Government to proceed. This decision overturned a previous Court of Appeal ruling that had dismissed the charges and ordered Kanu’s release.

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The legal journey for Kanu, arrested in Lagos on October 14, 2015, has been tumultuous, including a bail period on health grounds and a dramatic escape from Nigeria, followed by re-arrest in Kenya and forced return in June 2021.

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Despite the unanimous decision in October 2022 by the appellate court to dismiss all charges against Nnamdi Kanu, citing illegal extradition practices by the Nigerian government, the Supreme Court challenges this verdict, stating it was sentiment-based.

This legal back-and-forth has heightened tensions, prompting increased security measures at the court.

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In the lead judgement by Justice Garba Mohammed, read by Justice Emmanuel Agim, the Supreme Court criticized the Court of Appeal for not basing its decision on Nigerian law but on international statutes.

The apex court held that the lower court did not cite any Nigerian authority, even as it criticized the Federal Government for acting irresponsibly in bypassing the law to bring Nnamdi Kanu back for trial.

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The Supreme Court emphasized that, despite any procedure, illegally obtained evidence remains valid in Nigerian courts. It suggested that if Kanu felt an illegality occurred, he should institute a civil proceeding against the Federal Government.

The court declined to align with the Court of Appeal, emphasizing the need for explicit legislation in making judgements and urged FG to approach the trial court regarding any breach of bail conditions.

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