Court orders the arrest and trial of Fani-Kayode, Abaribe, others over Nnamdi Kanu’s escape

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The Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday approved for the commencement of a suit seeking an order of mandamus to compel the police and the Department of State Services to prosecute certain individuals for allegedly aiding the escape of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, from Nigeria and putting pressure on the military to produce him.

Justice John Tsoho, in a ruling on an ex parte application, granted leave to the plaintiff, Isiah Ayugu, to commence the suit, which he filed on October 31, 2018

Ayugu had described himself as a tax-paying, responsible Nigerian and lawyer. The judge, who fixed November 22 for the hearing of the suit, ordered the suit to be served on the defendants the DSS, its director-general, the police and the Inspector-General of Police.

The suit is seeking the arrest and prosecution of a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and those who stood sureties for the bail granted Kanu by the court in April 2017. They are Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, Tochukwu Uchendu and Emmanuel Shallom Ben.

Also listed for the proposed prosecution are Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, and the IPOB leader’s relatives, Emmanuel Kanu and Uchechi Kanu. The rest, according to the plaintiff, are “all those who worked together to propagate and spread the inciting lies and falsehood that Nnamdi Kanu was abducted, arrested, kidnapped, detained, killed and assassinated by the Nigerian Army when indeed they were well aware of Kanu’s whereabouts because they played roles in helping him to escape from Nigeria.”

Meanwhile, Ayugu, in the suit, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1254/18, said that due to Kanu’s escape from Nigeria, the IPOB leader’s trial on charges of treasonable felony had remained stalled before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja. He said as a Nigerian, his image had been damaged “by the character assassination, lies, falsehood and evil propaganda made against the Nigerian Army that the Nigerian Army has abducted, arrested, kidnapped, assassinated and killed Nnamdi Kanu.” For the suit seeking an order of mandamus to be validly commenced, the applicant is required to first seek the court’s leave.

Justice Tsoho, however, granted leave for the commencement of Ayugu’s suit shortly after the applicant’s lawyer, Mr. Oghenovo Otemu, moved his client’s ex parte application on Friday. Ruling on the application, Justice Tsoho said, “I am satisfied that the applicant has sufficient interest in the subject to which matter relates. Accordingly, the ex parte motion filed by the applicant on October 31, is granted as prayed.”

The plaintiff had instituted the suit following a viral video clip which recently emerged on the Internet showing Kanu as praying in Jerusalem, Israel, and a live press conference which the IPOB leader addressed online. The Federal Government was prosecuting Kanu and others on charges of treasonable felony at the Federal High Court in Abuja before he went missing since September 14, 2017 following a military invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu in Umuahia, Abia State.

Meanwhile, Abaribe, who is the lawmaker representing Abia South Senatorial District, has written to the Federal Government, asking it to explain the circumstances surrounding Kanu’s disappearance in Nigeria and reappearance in Israel.

The letter, dated November 7, 2018, was addressed to the Nigerian High Commissioner to Israel, Enoch Duchi, through the Minister of Foreign Affairs. It was written through his lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.

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