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Biafra: Kanu asks court to reverse 90-day remand order

By

Ade Adesomoju

A leader of pro-Biafran agitation group and Director, Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, on Tuesday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside its order granted to the Department of State Services to remand him for 90 days in the first instance, pending the conclusion of the investigation of terrorism and terrorism financing allegations against him.

Moving the application filed on November 26, 2015 before Justice Adeniyi Ademola on Tuesday, Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Vincent Obetta, accused the DSS of obtaining the order of remand granted by the court on November 10 by fraud.

He denied the charges of terrorism and terrorism financing levelled against his client, while alleging that the ex parte application through which the DSS obtained the order of remand constituted an abuse of court process and was “brought in complete bad faith.”

The lawyer also alleged that the DSS in obtaining the remand order “suppressed the fact of the active pendency of a criminal action” already instituted against his client before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone 2 of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Part of the grounds of the application read, “The order of this court was obtained fraudulently by the applicant/respondent.

“No materials exist for the bare allegations made by the respondent that the applicant is a terrorist, supports and finances terrorism and is preparing to take arms against the Nigerian state.”

Obetta also argued that the continued detention of his client “in the face of an order of a court that he be released” was a trespass on him (Kanu) and a violation of his basic freedom guaranteed under the Nigerian constitution.

He also maintained that the provisions of section 27(1) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013 and any provision of the Act empowering the court to make an order of detention of his client or anybody else contravened the provision of Nigeria’s constitution.

Obetta informed Justice Ademola on Tuesday that the DSS had consistently violated various orders of the Chief Magistrate’s court.

He said the DSS arrested his client on October 14, 2015 in Lagos, but the DSS kept him for six days in its custody before arraigning him before the magistrate’s court on October 19, 2015.

He said Kanu was granted bail on the same day and had since fulfilled the bail condition on October 21, but the DSS refused to release him.

Obetta said he subsequently applied for an order of the magistrate court directing the DSS to yield custody of the accused to the prison so that his (Kanu’s) lawyers and family members could have access to him.

He said despite that the order was granted on November 26 and served on the DSS, his client had not been released by the service.

Kanu’s lawyer said he only became aware of the order of the Federal High Court, remanding his client for 90 days in the first instance through a counter-affidavit filed by the DSS’ lawyer, Mr. Moses Idakwo, against his application seeking an order of the magistrate directing the Service to relinquish Kanu to prison.

He therefore prayed the Federal High Court to set aside the ex parte order issued to the DSS to detain his client for 90 days in the first instance and strike out the suit FHC/ABJ/CS/873/2015 through which the order of remand was obtained.

He also sought “an order admitting the applicant to bail and directing the respondent to comply with the orders of the Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse Zone 2, admitting the applicant to bail in Suit No. ABJ/CMC/CR/21/2015 – State Security Service vs Nnamdi Kanu.”

Justice Ademola on Tuesday adjourned till Monday for the DSS lawyer, Mr. Moses Idakwo, to respond to the application.

The DSS had asked the Chief Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone 2 of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to strike out the charges of criminal intimidation earlier preferred against the accused so as to file terrorism charges against him at the court with requisite jurisdiction.

Kanu’s lawyers had however opposed the DSS’ application for the discontinuance of the case, urging the Magistrate, Shuaibu Usman, to compel the Service to first comply with various orders directing that Kanu be released from its custody before striking out the charges.

The magistrate has fixed ruling on the application by the DSS for December 16.

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