A Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia State has ordered the Federal Government to return Nnamdi Kanu to Kenya, the country he was abducted before being extradited illegally to Nigeria on June 19, 2021.
Ruling on Wednesday, Justice Evelyn Anyadike also awarded N500m in general damages to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The suit which was filed in March, has the Federal Government, the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami; and President Muhammadu Buhari as respondents.
The court referred to the Court of Appeal’s judgment of October 13 in Abuja and granted all the eight reliefs sought by Kanu, which bothered on extraordinary rendition.
The court held that the expulsion or extraordinary rendition of Kanu, is a clear violation of his fundamental rights under Article 12(4) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, as well as Chapter IV of the Nigerian Constitution.
It held that the manner of arrest, torture, continued detention and denial of the right to fair hearing amounted to a brazen violation of Kanu’s rights.
While delivering the one-and-half-hour judgment, Anyadike held that the burden was on the respondents to justify their actions, which they failed to do so.
Reacting, Kanu’s counsel, Alloy Ejimakor hailed the court for what he described as a “painstaking judgment.”
According to him, it shows that the court is the last hope of the common man and has reinstated our confidence in the judiciary as lawyers.
Ejimakor said: “What is the most important in today’s judgment is not the money awarded to us as damages, but the court’s order that Kanu should be restored to the status quo as of June 19, 2021.
“I, therefore, call on the Federal Government to take prompt steps to obey this court order and restore Kanu to the status quo.”
The respondents were not represented in court.