Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer drags Army Chief to court
Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Ifeanyi Ejiofor, on Wednesday dragged the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai before the Federal High Court in Abuja praying for an order to compel him to produce Kanu in court on his next trial date.
Ejiofor, in an originating summons claimed that the where about of the IPOB leader has remained unknown since the day men of the Nigerian Army invaded his resident.
Troops of the Operation Python Dance II had on September 12, 2017, allegedly invaded the family home of Kanu, in Afaraukwu, Abia State.
The palace of Kanu’s father, Eze Israel Kanu, who is the traditional ruler of the Afaraukwu community was allegedly destroyed in the course of the operation.
The whereabouts of Kanu, his father and his mother during and after the invasion has remained unknown, Ejiofor claimed in the summons.
Meanwhile, Kanu through his lawyer in the suit filed before the court is praying it to make an order compelling the Chief of Army staff to produce him (Kanu) in court on the next adjourned date to enable him defend himself in the terrorism charges slammed against him by the Federal government.
The lawyer in the application which is anchored on five grounds is asking the court to take judicial notice of the fact that Kanu has lawfully exercised his constitutional right of freedom of association, peaceful assembly and self-determination.
According to the lawyer, Kanu was still, “enjoying the bail granted him by the court, when the prosecution in the trial requested the court to revoke his bail that was granted him by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The lawyer also accused the Nigerian Army of acting under express command handed down by Buratai and violently invaded the applicant’s home in Afara Ukwu, Ibeku in Umuahia, killing several people while others were left injured.
Parts of the grounds for the relief sought reads in part: “On 14th September, 2017, the Nigerian military led by soldiers of the Nigerian army invaded the applicant’s house on a murderous raid, where life and mortar bullets were fired on unarmed and defenseless populace, leaving 28 persons dead and abducting many.
“The applicant who was in the house during this bloody onslaught by the soldiers, has not been heard from or seen after this bloody attack in his home by the agents of the Respondent since the 14th September 2017.
“That the invading soldiers, in their desperate bid to ensure that the applicant is caught in the attack climbed stairs to his bedroom upstairs to shot him; walls of his bedroom were riddled with bullets.
“The invading soldiers who had direct contact with the applicant on this fateful day (14th September 2017) should be in a position to produce the applicant before the court. It is either the Respondent’s rampaging soldiers abducted the applicant during this raid or must have killed him in the process.
Section 40 of the Federal High Court Act empowers this court to order that a writ of Habeas Corpus ad Subjiciendum; (A Writ directed to someone detaining another person and commanding that the detainee be brought to court) be issued on the Respondent, to produce the applicant in court, particularly now that his substantive criminal trial is coming up on the 17th October, 2017.
“The Court is vested with inherent powers Under Section 6(6) (a) – (d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as (Amended 2011) to entertain this application and grant reliefs sought herein”.
Recalled that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) had approached the acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdul Kafarati, with an ex-parte application asking him to proscribe all the activities of IPOB and declare the organisation as a terrorist organization.
Justice Kafarati consequently granted the application and directed the federal government to gazette IPOB’S proscription order and published it in two national daily newspapers.