By Izunna Okafor, Awka
In a pivotal development, the Supreme Court is poised to render a judgment today on the appeals brought forth by both the federal government and Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Recapping the proceedings, a distinguished five-member panel, presided over by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, meticulously selected October 5 for the verdict subsequent to the conclusive statements made by the government’s legal representative, Tijani Gazali (SAN), and Kanu’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The crux of the matter lies in the federal government’s earnest plea to overturn the Court of Appeal’s precedent, which nullified the treasonable felony charges against Kanu. The appellate court had gone a step further, ordering Kanu’s release on the grounds of an allegedly illicit return following his bail breach.
Conversely, Kanu fervently urges the Supreme Court to validate the Court of Appeal’s judgment, thereby securing his exoneration and freedom.
Gazali passionately implores the court to set aside the appellate court’s decision and unequivocally endorse the initial Federal High Court judgment, compelling Kanu to face trial.
In a counter stance, Ozekhome ardently appeals to the court to dismiss the government’s appeal, accompanied by consequential costs, while simultaneously upholding Kanu’s cross-appeal, an entreaty grounded in the pursuit of what he deems “substantial justice.”
The backdrop of this legal saga dates back to October 13, 2022, when the Court of Appeal, situated in Abuja, scrutinized and criticized the government’s methodology in repatriating Kanu. The court, in a decisive move, quashed seven counts within the overarching treasonable felony charge, asserting that the government had transgressed established protocols and international laws during Kanu’s arrest in Kenya.
The ensuing legal drama saw the federal government, in a bid for a reprieve, seeking a stay of execution, a plea that found favor with the Court of Appeal, temporarily halting Kanu’s release as mandated by the appellate court.
Preceding these events, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court had earlier stricken eight counts from the original charge against Kanu. The Court of Appeal subsequently quashed seven additional counts, bringing us to the current juncture where the Supreme Court stands poised to deliver a verdict that could significantly impact the trajectory of Nnamdi Kanu’s legal odyssey.