The Indigenous People of Biafra says the concellation of the Sept. 14th, 2023 hearing of the Supreme Court on the appeal by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu for his release from the custody of the Department of the State Services is a manifestation of FG’s reluctance to abide by the Court of Appeal’s order setting Kanu free.
IPOB’s spokesman, Mr Emma Powerful, in a statement, said the shift was deliberate to prolong Kanu’s release in accordance with the verdict of the Court of Appeals, Abuja, which discharged and acquitted him.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, is being detained at the custody of the Department of State Services over alleged running of a proscribed group, jumping bail and treason.
Powerful urged Kanu’s faithful to condemn the continuous adjournment of its leader’s case by the Supreme Court of Nigeria in their efforts for Kanu to remain in the DSS solitary confinement in Abuja.
According to him, “It is with greatest disappointment and bewilderment that we received from our leader’s lead counsel, Prof Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the cancellation of the date earlier scheduled for the hearing of our leader’s appeal before the Supreme Court.
“The after-thought and flimsy reason being that the 14th of September 2023, earlier scheduled for the hearing of the case, has caught up with the Supreme Court’s annual vacation. To say the least, this is the worst form of travesty of justice and violent destruction of the rule of law at its epic.
“If we may ask, was it not in an open court that the justices of the Supreme Court that sat on the appeal on the 11th day of May 2023 adjourned the matter to the 14th day of September 2023?
“It is also our understanding that the 14th day of September 2023 adjournment was not granted as a matter of course. The adjournment date was carefully considered against the background of the federal government’s deliberate ploy to thwart the proceedings of that day by applying for time to file their papers even when they were clearly out of time, and the appeal was consequently adjourned to the 14th day of September 2023 for definite hearing.
“If the present intention of the apex court is not a rape of democracy and clear subversion of the course of justice, how could they have adjourned to the 14th day of September 2023 without being guided by their diary, which contains the entire schedule of activities and holidays of the Supreme Court for the entire year?”
IPOB drew the attention of the Supreme Court to the fact that, “The ‘stay of execution’ in a criminal trial is both criminal and unconstitutional. It is tantamount to the destruction of the tenets of criminal law jurisprudence because it is not supported by any judicial authority or extant laws or criminal practice direction of the Court of Appeal.
“What the Federal Government of Nigeria did was to procure a panel of the most corrupt judicial officers in the Court of Appeal to sit on an unprecedented appeal against the decision of the same court, and the criminal venture was perfected and carefully executed.
“Hence, our leader is, today, still being illegally and unconstitutionally confined to solitary confinement at the SSS dungeon in Abuja due to the illegal order of the judicial putschists.
“Contrary to the widespread misinformation, our leader is being detained without a charge pending against him in any court of law, which is against the law and constitution of Nigeria. By the authority of the judgment of the Court of Appeal delivered on the 13th day of October 2022, the seven-count charge that was pending against our leader before he approached the intermediate court was buried in its entirety, having been discharged and effectively forbidden from being prosecuted again in any court in Nigeria on any indictment or offence of any nature.
“The style of successive adjournment basically at the instance of the Federal Government of Nigeria is to justify the illegal detention of our leader, which is clearly an abuse of judicial process.”
IPOB added that, “Our leader has been in detention for one year since he was discharged by the Court of Appeal. Yet, the government that appealed the decision discharging our leader is not interested in prosecuting the matter because they are aware that they will still lose at the Supreme Court.
“It is highly unfortunate that an apex court operating within the ambit of constitutional democracy will support the emasculation of their own laws just to spite one man and what he represents.
“The cancellation of this date on the frivolous ground that the scheduled date is caught up with the apex court annual vacation is against the Supreme Court’s own rules governing criminal trials that are subject to accelerated hearing. It is to be observed that the unfolding events goes to demonstrate that the Supreme Court of Nigeria is not abiding with their own rules by constantly adjourning the case of our leader.”
IPOB called on responsible foreign governments, institutions, and international communities to immediately prevail on the Supreme Court of Nigeria to hear its leader’s appeal so that the case will be promptly determined.”
Powerful questioned, “How can you justify in law the fact that an innocent man who was discharged and acquitted by the Nigerian Court of Appeal since the 13th day of October 2022, and freed of any wrongdoing is still being held in solitary confinement without any Order of court or law backing up the illegal and unconstitutional violation of his rights? It is, indeed, a grave subversion of the course of justice by the highest court in the land, in their clandestine connivance with the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“If the Federal Government of Nigeria is no longer interested in prosecuting their appeal, our leader should be immediately released in line with the Order of the penultimate court made on the 13th day of October 2022.”