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Court delivers judgment in Nnamdi Kanu’s N1bn suit against FG July 1

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed July 1 for judgment in a N1 billion suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), against the Federal Government and Department of State Services (DSS).

Justice James Omotosho fixed the date after Kanu’s counsel, Aloy Ejimakor; the FG’s lawyer, Mercy Akeredolu and their counterpart with the DSS, A.M. Danlami, adopted their processes and made their submissions in the suit.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kanu, through his lawyer, Ejimakor, had filed the instant suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1633/2023 for the enforcement of his fundamental rights while in detention.

In the originating motion dated and filed Dec. 4, 2023, the applicant sued the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), DSS and its DG as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.

The suit was filed pursuant to Order II, Rules 1 & 2 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, among others.

Upon resumed hearing, Ejimakor told the court that he filed an originating motion dated and filed on Dec. 4, 2023.

The lawyer said he also filed a further affidavit dated and filed March 26 with six exhibits in response to 3rd and 4th respondents’ counter affidavit.

He said the exhibits had, among others, a certified true copy of a previous judgment.

He said he filed additional further affidavit on April 22 in response to the additional counter affidavit filed by 3rd and 4th respondents dated April 18.

Besides, Ejimakor said he filed a further affidavit on April 22 in response to 1st and 2nd respondents’ counter affidavit filed April 12.

The lawyer, who adopted the documents, prayed the court to grant their reliefs sought.

Akeredolu, who held the brief of Maimuna Lami-Shehu for the FRN and AGF, said in opposing Kanu’s application, they filed a counter affidavit on April 12 with one exhibit.

She said a written address also dated and filed April 12 was attached with the counter affidavit.

The lawyer urged the court to dismiss the IPOB leader’s suit.

In the same vein, Danlami, who appeared for the DSS and its DG, told the court that a 15-paragraph counter affidavit dated April 12, was filed same date with an exhibit.

He said they equally filed a further counter affidavit dated and filed April 18 with two exhibits.

He prayed the court to dismiss the suit for lacking in merit.

After the proceeding that lasted till evening, Justice Omotosho adjourned the matter until July 1 for judgment.

In the motion, the detained IPOB leader prayed for eight reliefs.

He sought “a declaration that the respondents’ act of forcible seizure and photocopying of confidential legal documents pertaining to facilitating the preparation of his defence which were brought to him at the respondents’ detention facility by his lawyers, amounted to denial of his rights to be defended by legal practitioners of his own choice.

He also sought a declaration that the respondents’ act of refusing or preventing his counsel from taking notes of details of counsel’s professional discussions/consultations with him at DSS detention.

This, he said, amounted to denial of his right to be given adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence by legal practitioners of his own choice.

He also sought a declaration that the respondents’ act of eavesdropping on his confidential consultations/conversations with his lawyers, amounted to denial of applicant’s right to be given adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence and to be.defended by legal practitioners of his own choice, among others.

Kanu, therefore, sought an order of injunction restraining and prohibiting the respondents from their act of forcible seizure and photocopying of confidential legal documents brought to him at the detention facility by his lawyers.

“An order of injunction restraining and prohibiting the respondents from their act of refusing or preventing the applicant’s counsel from taking notes of details of counsel’s professional discussions/consultations with the applicant during the counsel’s visitation with the applicant at the premises of respondents’ detention facility.

He is also seeking an order mandating the respondents to jointly and severally pay the sum of N1 billion as damages for the mental, emotional, psychological and other damages he suffered as a result of the his rights’ breach.

But in a counter affidavit dated and filed by the DSS on March 12, the security outfit denied allegations levelled against it.

In the application deposed to by Yamuje Benye, a Legal Department staff, he said 11 paragraphs in Kanu’s affidavit were untrue.

He averred that Kanu was in safe and secured custody of the DSS and he Is not detained in solitary confinement.

According to Benye, the applicant (Kanu) is allowed access to his family members and team of lawyers on his visiting days without any hindrance whatsoever.

He argued that the IPOB leader was permitted to interact and consult with his lawyers on his visiting days without any interference.

He said at no material time did any DSS personnel seized or confiscated documents brought to Kanu by his lawyers or any other person.

He added that their personnel never denied Kanu’s lawyers the professional liberty to perform their lawful duty of discussing, consulting and interacting with him.

“Applicant’s counsel are allowed to moderate size notes or pads for the visit, but exchange of materials that promotes the IPOB ideals (subject matter of applicant’s criminal trial) were strongly resisted and refused;

Applicant has consistently requested that various prayer books and religious materials be brought to him as part of his fundamental human right;” he said.

Benye averred that Justice Binta Nyako, who is presiding over Kanu’s criminal trial, had always maintained that visit to him should always be under supervision as it is the best practice all over the world.

According to him, the applicant (Kanu), along with his counsel, were permitted to consult and interact on visiting days in one of the best interview facilities of the State Security Service (SSS) to ensure maximum comfort of applicant and his visitor(s).

The official, who denied allegations that the personnel usually record their interaction during visit, said “there is no basis for eavesdropping and recording of their conversations.”

He said in line with the Service Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) of the State Security Service, all visitors to her facility are subjected to normal routine security checks and items in their possession scanned.

According to him, this is to avoid unauthorised materials making their way into the facility.

Benye said the instant suit was an abuse of court process, Kanu, having argued same issues before Justice Nyako and the matter reserved for judgment.

The FRN and the AGF, in a counter affidavit, also urged the court to dismiss the suit for being an abuse of court process.

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Written by Nike

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