Court adjourns Nnamdi Kanu’s N1 billion suit against federal govt, SSS

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, adjourned a fresh N1 billion suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), against the federal government until 4 March for hearing.

Justice James Omotosho adjourned the matter following the absence of counsel for Mr Kanu in court.

When the case was called, Mr Kanu, who was the applicant, was not represented in court while the defendants’ lawyers were in court.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Kanu, through his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, had filed the latest suit for the enforcement of his fundamental rights while in detention.

In the originating motion dated and filed 4 December, 2023, the applicant sued the Nigerian government, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), State Security Service (SSS) and its director-general as 1st to 4th respondents respectively.

The suit was filed pursuant to Order II, Rules 1 & 2 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, among others.

Reliefs Kanu is seeking

In the motion, the detained IPOB leader prayed for eight reliefs.

Mr Kanu is seeking a declaration that the respondents’ act of forcible seizure and photocopying of confidential legal documents pertaining to facilitating the preparation of his defence which were brought to him at the respondents’ detention facility by his lawyers, amounted to denial of his rights to be defended by legal practitioners of his own choice.

He is seeking a declaration that the respondents’ act of refusing or preventing his counsel from taking notes of details of counsel’s professional discussions/consultations with him at SSS detention, with said discussions/consultations relating to preparation of his defence, amounted to denial of his right to be given adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence by legal practitioners of his own choice.

He is also seeking a declaration that the respondents’ act of eavesdropping on his confidential consultations/conversations with his lawyers on matters relating to preparation of his defence during the lawyers’ visitations amounted to denial of applicant’s right to be given adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence and to be defended by legal practitioners of his own choice.

Mr Kanu described the acts as illegal, unlawful, unconstitutional and constituted an infringement of his fundamental right to fair hearing as enshrined and guaranteed under Section 36(6)(b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Article 7(1)(c) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

The IPOB leader, therefore, is seeking an order of injunction restraining and prohibiting the respondents from their act of forcible seizure and photocopying of confidential legal documents brought to him at the detention facility by his lawyers.

“An order of injunction restraining and prohibiting the respondents from their act of refusing or preventing the applicant’s counsel from taking notes of details of counsel’s professional discussions/consultations with the applicant during the counsel’s visitation with the applicant at the premises of respondents’ detention facility.

“An order of injunction restraining and prohibiting the respondents from their act of eavesdropping on the applicant’s confidential consultations/conversations with his lawyers on matters relating to preparation of applicant’s defence during the lawyers’ visitations with the applicant at the detention facility.”

Mr Kanu is also seeking an order compelling the respondents to issue an official letter of apology to him for the infringement of his fundamental right to fair hearing.

He is also seeking the court to make an order mandating the respondents to jointly and severally pay the sum of N1 billion as damages for the mental, emotional, psychological and other damages he suffered as a result of the his rights’ breach.

What government lawyer told court

Meanwhile, the counsel for the federal government and the attorney-general of the federation, Enoch Simon, a chief state counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, told the court that they were only served with the hearing notice.

Mr Simon said they had not been served with the originating process in the matter. He said he came to court out of respect for the court.

Counsel for the SSS, Idowu Awo, corroborated Mr Simon’s statement.

“We were not served as well,” he said.

Justice Omotosho adjourned the matter until 4 March for hearing, and ordered that a hearing notice be issued and served on the applicant.

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