The Supreme Court has fixed Monday, October 24, for hearing on a Motion for a Stay of Execution of Appeal Court judgment ordering the release of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The President Muhammadu Buhari led-Federal Government had on Wednesday, filed an appeal against the October 13 unanimous judgment of the Court of Appeal freeing the IPOB’s leader.
The government in a motion for stay of execution is asking the court to stop execution of the judgment which discharged Kanu of all the terrorism related charges and barred any lower Court from entertaining further charges against him.
In a seven-ground notice of appeal which was filed by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, SAN, the Federal Government not only faulted the lower court’s decision, but equally prayed that it be set aside.
The government in it grounds of appeal argued, among others, that the Court of Appeal erred when it faulted the manner Kanu was brought back to face trial after he jumped bail and fled the country.
It contended further that the Court of Appeal erred when it struck out the pending charge against Kanu on the ground that the trial court no longer possessed the requisite jurisdiction to continue the trial because of the manner Kanu was returned to the country upon allegedly jumping bail.
Reacting to the federal government’s new move, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the counsels of Kanu and IPOB, described the appeal as incompetent, even as he noted that their team was not perturbed, adding that the appellant had the right to lodge an appeal.
Dismissing the appeal as incompetent, he said that the government decided not to obey a valid order of the Court of Appeal by releasing his client.
Ejiofor stated this in an interview shortly after a routine visit to the Headquarters of the Department of State Services, DSS, in Abuja on Thursday.
He said, “Our strategies towards a successful upsetting of the efficacy of these processes as it affects Onyendu’s unconditional release were discussed on Thursday during our court-ordered routine visit to Onyendu Kanu at the detention facility of the DSS.
“Our strategies were all acceptable to him, particularly now that the “Motion for Stay of Execution” was fixed for hearing on Monday, 24th October 2022.
“Though the FGN’s right of appeal is a Constitutional right, it is our firm contention that the FGN must first and foremost, obey the Order of the Court of Appeal directing for the immediate and unconditional release of Onyendu.
“The FGN has been in contempt of the positive Orders of Court made since the 13th day of October 2022, by the Court of Appeal, which Orders clearly discharged Onyendu, and prohibited the FGN from further detaining him and/or subjecting him to any further prosecution or trial.”
According to the legal practitioner, “The law is settled that a party who is in disobedience of a Court Order, cannot be entitled to, or be granted the indulgence of the exercise of the equitable discretion of a Court of Law for “Stay of Execution” of the same Order the party is in its contempt.
“Onyendu’s legal team, eminently led by our erudite Silk, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, is ever ready to literally remove the carpet from under their feet in Court, come the 24th day of October 2022.
“There is no doubt, whatsoever, that this grossly incompetent application for “Stay of Execution” is to enable the lawless DSS to gain more time with the continued detention of Onyendu, but their evil plan is dead on arrival because we are equal to the task” Kanu’s lawyer said.
“The only valid option available to the government is to obey the Order made by a very Superior Court of Record, and immediately free Onyendu unconditionally,” he added.
Ejiofor stated that Kanu is strongly convinced that his landmark victory resonates the age-long testament that the Court is the last hope of the common man.
“He is firm in his conviction that this landmark victory has come to stay, and his freedom is sacrosanct. Umu Chineke are strongly assured that the present development is nothing to worry about.
“The Judgment of the Court of Appeal freeing Onyendu has held the FGN in a vice-like grip, there is no chance whatsoever of extrication” Ejiofor maintained.
In addition, he said Kanu’s freedom is sacrosanct and the sanctity of the Court’s pronouncement must be respected by the FGN, and the time has come.
“Onyendu extended his profound gratitude to you all, UmuChineke, while encouraging you all to remain fervent in your supplications and prayers, as this travail will soon be a thing of the past.
“There is already light at the end of the tunnel,” Ejiofor said.
A three-man Panel of Appeal Court Justices led by Oludotun Adefope-Okojie had on Thursday, October 13, while delivering judgment in Kanu’s appeal on his extraordinary rendition declared it as unlawful and his subsequent arraignment before a Federal High Court in Abuja for the continuation of his trial on pending terrorism charges.
The court also quashed the terrorism charge preferred against him by the Federal Government, pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja.