Nnamdi Kanu seeks out-of-court settlement after 3 years in detention, here’s what to know

 Nnamdi Kanu seeks out-of-court settlement after 3 years in detention, here’s what to know

Image Source: Daily Post

The leader of the secessionist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, is seeking to negotiate with the Nigerian government to drop the treasonable felony charges against him.

Mr. Kanu, who has been detained since 2021, faces trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja over his separatist campaigns aimed at creating the Biafra Republic from Nigeria.

At the court hearing on Wednesday, 19th June, Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Alloy Ejimakor, notified the judge, Binta Nyako, that his client was seeking to dialogue with the government to drop the charges.

With reference to section 17 of the Federal High Court Act, Mr Ejimakor stated, “In any proceeding, the court may promote reconciliation among parties thereto and encourage and facilitate the amicable settlement thereof.”

Barrister Ejimakor also moved an application objecting to the court’s jurisdiction to try the IPOB leader, who appears in court from the State Security Service (SSS) custody in Abuja. He said that his client would pursue an out-of-court settlement route if the court rejected his application challenging the court’s jurisdiction.

He also stated that he had a discussion with prosecuting counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), concerning the proposition. However, according to the defense lawyer, the prosecutor told him to leave the discussion for another time.

Prosecution, Judge Reacts

The federal government’s prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Awomolo, informed the court that he did not have the authority to negotiate with the defendant on behalf of the government and that he asked him to approach the Attorney General of the Federation to discuss the issue.

In response, the trial judge remarked that she had no objection to the parties pursuing an out-of-court settlement if they chose to do so.

Echoing Mr. Awomolo’s sentiment, the judge advised Mr. Kanu to approach the AGF, who is the appropriate authority for negotiations.

Read Also

Mobhad: How singer’s family went from demanding autopsy to rejecting it

Ojude Oba: All you need to know about Ijebu’s magnificent festival

NCC: 7 reasons why your data depletes speedily and how to stop it

Court Rejects Kanu’s Challenge to Charges

Judge Nyako dismissed Mr. Kanu’s application challenging the validity of counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15 against him. Mr. Kanu argued that the charges were unconstitutional and that the court lacked jurisdiction because the prosecution did not specify where the alleged “offensive broadcast” took place. He also questioned whether the broadcast was punishable in Kenya or Britain, where he had been prior to his rearrest in June 2021.

Judge Nyako stated she could not overturn her previous decisions and advised Mr. Kanu to appeal. She ordered the prosecution to file and serve its evidence on the defendant, who must then submit his defense. Both parties were directed to identify areas of agreement and disagreement. The case was adjourned to September 24 for further hearing.

Charges Against SSS

Mr. Ejimakor filed contempt charges against the State Security Service (SSS) director general for allegedly disobeying court orders to grant Mr. Kanu full, unhindered access to his lawyers and providing a bugged meeting room. The judge noted the application had not yet reached her file but ordered the SSS to provide an “un-bugged space” for Kanu’s meetings with his legal team.

A Timeline of Key Events

Mr. Kanu, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the UK, faces treason charges for his separatist campaigns advocating for an independent Biafra nation. Arrested in Lagos in October 2015, Kanu was granted bail in 2017 but fled after a military raid on his home. Following his arrest in Kenya and forced return to Nigeria in June 2021, he has been held in SSS custody.

In April 2022, a trial court struck out 8 of the 15 charges against him. The Court of Appeal dismissed the remaining charges in October 2022, but the Nigerian government appealed this decision. In December 2023, the Supreme Court ruled that his trial should continue at the Federal High Court in Abuja. Kanu’s repeated bail requests have been denied since his repatriation.

Related post