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Nnamdi Kanu failed to prove his case against DSS – Judge

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, dismissed a N1 billion suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), against the Federal Government and Department of State Services (DSS).

Justice James Omotosho, in a judgment, held that Kanu failed to provide credible evidence to back his alleged violation of his fundamental rights by the DSS and its DG, Yusuf Bichi.

“I have gone through the evidence laid before this court and there is nothing placed by the applicant (Kanu) to show that indeed the 3rd and 4th respondents (DSS and DG) prevented him from seeing his counsel or that they prevented the counsel from taking notes or that they eavesdropped on their conversations.

“The applicant only stated that he believes these facts to be true without any proof of such belief.

“There are no dates or specific details as to when any of these occurred.

“There is also no evidence of any specific information which the 3rd and 4th respondents gleaned from the conversations which the applicant can prove.

“Perhaps if the applicant was able to pin point a particular information he gave his lawyers which the 3rd and 4th respondents used against him, it would have helped his case,” Justice Omotosho said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the IPOB leader, through his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, had sued the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), DSS and its DG as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.

In the originating summons marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1633/2023, dated and filed Dec. 4, 2023, Kanu 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 sought a declaration that the respondents’ act of preventing his counsel from taking notes of details of counsel’s professional discussions/consultations with him at DSS detention was unlawful.

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

He further sought a declaration that the respondents’ act of eavesdropping on his confidential conversations with his lawyers, amounted to denial of his right, 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.

He also sought 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, among others.

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

Delivering the judgment , Justice Omotosho observed that the DSS and its DG submitted that due to the charge against Kanu, it was necessary for them to check the messages he passes to his visitors in order to check for any subversive message to his followers outside.

“Also that the trial judge in the criminal trial had ordered them to supervise the visits to the applicant.

“This court is also mindful of Exhibit SSS 1 and SSS 2 attached to the further counter affidavit of the 3rd and 4th respondents which are the records of visits of the applicant’s counsel to him,” he said.

The judge equally observed a letter from the DSS to the lead lawyer to Kanu, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, stating that “the right of counsel to consult with the applicant was unhindered.

“Also that communication between the counsel and the applicant will continue to be confidential, personal and without inference.

“This court thinks these exhibits show clearly that the allegations made by the applicant has been refuted by the 3rd and 4th respondents.

“There is no evidence of communication being hindered or intercepted by the 3rd and 4th respondents or that they were prevented from taking notes when they consulted with the applicant.”

Omotosho held that the IPOB leader cannot rely on bare assertions or make speculations without any proof of same.

“Mere assertions without credible proof is insufficient and would not avail the applicant,” he said, citing Section 135 of the Evidence Act to back the ruling.

According to him, the applicant has failed to establish the breach of his fundamental right to fair hearing by the 3rd and 4th respondents.

“Thus, the reliefs cannot be granted.

“In final analysis, there is no credible proof of breach of fundamental rights of the applicant. Consequently, this application is hereby dismissed,” the judge declared.

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