By Aloy Ejimakor
It’s not acceptable, even by the lowest standards of fairness, that it took the Court of Appeal only two weeks to undo a sound judgment that discharged Nnamdi Kanu from his long and tortuous seven years of ordeal with the criminal justice system in Nigeria.
Recall that Kanu was first arrested and charged in 2015 and the judgment discharging him came in 2022.
Recall also that it is the same court that discharged Kanu that quickly turned around to stay (or invalidate) its own judgment. In effect, the court sat on appeal over its own judgment and took only two weeks to reverse itself.
Does that sound proper in a judicial system that takes a year or more to decide who won an election and many more to decide regular cases?
And that it is now going to take almost a year for the Supreme Court to review what the Court of Appeal had done makes it profoundly more unfair.
Another grave injustice of the matter that cannot be overlooked is that the judgment was already admittedly and publicly disobeyed (a grave illegality) by the government before it filed the application that got the Court of Appeal to judicially stay the judgment.
So, in effect, the stay of execution magically pedaled backwards to bestow judicial legality on executive illegality.
Additionally, it will be recalled that – on 26th October 2022 – the Federal High Court had also declared Nnamdi Kanu’s extraordinary rendition and subsequent (plus continued) detention in Abuja as flagrant violations of the constitution.
Under Chapter 4 of Nigerian Constitution, a man has no business with prison after a court has declared his detention as unconstitutional. If the government refuses to free such a man, where else does he go for justice, to God or to who?
And that two different international tribunals equally directed that Kanu be freed should count in the overall reckoning that his continued detention has turned extrajudicial and extraconstitutional.
So, all in all, Nnamdi Kanu has not been given a fair shake by the system and for a man of his stature, charisma and follower-ship, such a reckless misadventure can convulse any society.
Therefore, it is disingenuous to postulate that freeing Nnamdi Kanu from detention must wait for the conclusion of the appeal pending before the Supreme Court. The Federal High Court judgment alone, which is not stayed, is enough to release him.
Anything in opposite or everyday he spends in detention amounts to a trial by ordeal. Simple!
Ejimakor, a lawyer, writes from Alaigbo.