FG stalls hearing in group’s leader’s $800m rights violation case
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) reiterated, yesterday, that its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, is still in the custody of the Nigerian Army.
IPOB has also raised the alarm over incessant raids on Kanu’s compound in Afaraukwu Umuahia, by security operatives, the army and the police.
In Abuja, the Federal Government stalled hearing in Kanu’s $800 million fundamental rights violation suit, before the ECOWAS Court of Justice.
Back in the South East, IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, in a statement, insisted that Kanu is with the army because he vanished after the raid on his family home property last month.
“We must also point out to the world that those kidnapped during the invasion of our leaders compound, on September 14, 2017, are still unaccounted for, including Kanu. There is no doubt in our mind that our leader, alive or dead, is in the custody of the Nigerian army.
“All denials by the Army should be weighed against the background of well-documented lies and deception. They denied having raided the compound of our leader only to turn around and accept when they saw themselves on CCTV video footage.
“We are still wondering why and what the Nigerian Army and police had in mind before embarking on this yet another invasion and attack on our leader’s compound on Sunday, October 8, 2017.”
Powerful alleged those who vandalised Kanu’s home were initially not aware that they were being recorded until the footage appeared online.
“On realising they were captured on camera, they returned to the palace to destroy the CCTV cameras. It was at this point the Nigerian army acknowledged, for the first time, that they had frequently conducted raids on the palace.
“The soldiers arrived with 15 Hilux vans, to our leader’s compound, for the second time, in a space of 24 hours and stayed there for up to five hours.”
Meanwhile, hearing was stalled in Kanu’s suit, yesterday.
The set-back was caused by the absence of the federal government counsel, Dayo Akpata, in court.
Akpata, who is the lead counsel for the federal government, was reportedly having a meeting with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo and subsequently unable to make it to court.
Kanu had approached the court, through his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, with a motion against the federal government on alleged violation of his rights and demanded an order of the ECOWAS Court for government to pay $800 million as damages for the alleged violation.
Following the development, counsel to the Attorney General in the matter, Abdullahi Abubakar sought for an adjournment.
Mr. Abubakar had earlier told the court that Akpata was at the Supreme Court for a different matter and asked for a short postponement of the hearing.
Following Abubakar’s application, the case was stood down for two hours.
After the court resumed session on the matter, Abubakar, again, approached the court with another request for an adjournment on the grounds that Akpata, who is also the solicitor-general of the Federation, was having a meeting with Osinbajo.
Abubakar also told the court that his team had not gotten some of the documents from a previous ruling in the ECOWAS Court.
In his response, Ejiofor accused government of ‘deliberately delaying the matter’.
Ejiofor asked the court to compel the respondent to pay N2 million for deliberate frustration of the matter.
Reacting to Ejiofor’s submission, Abubakar said the previous adjournment was not at the instance of the respondent but based on a request from the court.
The matter had been adjourned for further hearing of the substantive suit.
The three-member panel, led by Justice Hemeye Mahdmadane consented to the submissions of Abubakar regarding the facts resulting in the last adjournment.
The court also postponed the matter till November 21 for hearing of all the applications and determination of Ejiofor’s motion for award of cost against the respondents.
Reacting to questions from newsmen as to the reason for his client’s absence in court, Ejiofor reiterated his earlier stance that ‘only the Nigerian Army can speak on Kanu’s current location.
“The Military and federal government are in a position to tell me where my client is. We are going to settle it in court,” he said.
Kanu has not been seen in public, since September 14, after Ejiofor accused the Nigerian Army of invading his client’s residence and ‘possibly killing or abducting Kanu’.
The applicant is facing trial for alleged treason able offences.
His group, IPOB has been proscribed as a terrorist group by the Nigerian government.