Thursday 06 October, 2016
ABUJA— The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, sitting in Abuja, yesterday threatened to rule on the appeal lodged before it by the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu against the Federal government of Nigeria.
A three-man panel of Judges headed by Micah Wright who presided over the case, expressed shock at the non-appearance of the defense lawyer to the Federal government who gave a flimsy excuse for not appearing before the regional court.
The court also awarded the total sum of N1million as costs against the Federal government to Kanu’s lawyer, to cover the expenses he incurred on his trip to Abuja for the proceedings without the appearance of government’s defense lawyer.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), had few hours before the court session, applied for an adjournment on the grounds that they had another court matter to attend to in Kaduna state.
Reacting to the absence of the Federal government’s legal representatives over the lame excuse, the Plaintiff’s lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor who strongly opposed the application, submitted that the request was a ploy to keep his detained client, Nnamdi Kanu, in perpetual incarceration. He told the honourable court that he met the Federal government’s lawyer the day before(Tuesday), at the court, stressing that the Federal government is deliberately prolonging his client’s trial and detention with the pretence of overseeing a court case in Kaduna.
Barrister Ejiofor pointed out that he was attending a court case in Lagos but because of this trial, he had to fly in to Abuja to represent his client, adding that in the face of the economic recession currently bedeviling the country, his flight ticket/transport fare has been a waste owing to the absence of the federal government’s counsel.
On hearing this, a member of the panel of judges, Justice Friday Nwoke, sent out a warning to the Federal government, vowing to proceed with the hearing of the case and also to deliver its final judgment on the matter if they fail to appear on the next adjourned date.
Justice Nwoke who frowned at the levity and poor manner in which the Federal government had responded to their call for attention at the court, held that the court case in Kaduna was not enough reason for the federal government’s absence at the proceeding.
The absence of the FG’s counsel compelled Justice Nwoke to grant the request of Barrister Ejiofor, ordering the FG to award the sum as costs against them.
The Honourable judge subsequently adjourned the case to continue on November 8, 2016, for hearing and final judgment which he said will go on even in the absence of the Federal government.
Recall that the ECOWAS court had on Tuesday, awarded the sum of N15million as compensatory damages to the detained former National Security Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Col. Sambo Dasuki(rtd) for his unjustified incarceration by the FG.
The court also ordered the FG to immediately release Dasuki owing to the violation of his rights to freedom and property by the Nigerian government.
The ECOWAS court held that his detention violated both national and international laws on the rights of persons and citizens to freedom and liberty.
Justice Nwoke also dismissed the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes given by the FG as reasons to justify his detention.
Similarly, Kanu, who has been in detention since 14th October last year, despite previous court rulings for his release, approached the regional court(ECOWAS) to seek for the enforcement of his fundamental human rights and his subsequent release from detention which the Abuja High Court under Justice John Tsoho had hitherto denied him on grounds that he could jump bail if released having a dual citizens passport in his possession.
Reporting from Abuja,
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers.