Nigerian Government has told the
Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States,
ECOWAS, sitting in Abuja to throw out a fundamental human rights
enforcement suit filed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra,
IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
According to the Federal Government,
Kanu who was granted bail by the Federal High Court, has allegedly
escaped from his ongoing trial and for this reason, the judgment of the
ECOWAS Court on the suit would serve no purpose.
The IPOB leader had filed the suit on
March 3, 2016 demanding $800 million as compensation from the Federal
Government for his alleged unlawful arrest in 2015 and continued
Lawyer to the Federal Government, Mrs
Maimuna Shiru, stated in an objection to the suit that Kanu, having been
granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja where he is being tried
alongside others on charges of treasonable felony, on April 25, 2017,
it was unnecessary for the ECOWAS Court to adjudicate on the IPOB
Shiru further explained that Kanu having
allegedly jumped the bail granted him by the Federal High Court, Abuja,
event had overtaken his suit.
The three grounds of the application
stated, “Having regards to Article 88(2 ) of the Rules of the Community
Court of Justice, ECOWAS, this suit has become devoid of purpose and
unnecessary to adjudicate upon.
“The result of a judicial decision in
this suit will serve no purpose. There are no live issues in controversy
between the parties for the court to determine.”
Also, Thomas Etah, who deposed to an
affidavit filed in support of the Nigerian Government’s motion, pointed
out that the IPOB leader filed his notice of registration before the
ECOWAS Court on March 3, 2016, while the plaintiff was granted bail by
the Federal High Court on April 25.
He added, “That the plaintiff/ respondent has now jumped bail and his whereabouts are unknown.
“That further to paragraph 8 above, it
is public knowledge that the Federal High Court of Nigeria has ordered
Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe and two other sureties to produce the
plaintiff/ respondent or forfeit their bail bonds.
“That the plaintiff/respondent and the
group he represents, the Indigenous People of Biafra have been
proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the defendant/applicant
“That this suit before this honourable court has been overtaken by events and has become devoid of purpose.”
Lawyer to Kanu and IPOB, Ifeanyi
Ejiofor, had earlier told the ECOWAS Court that he needed to respond to
the application by the Federal Government.
According to Ejiofor, the Federal
Government deliberately delayed the filing of the motion in order to
frustrate the hearing of the case.
Ejiofor’s claims were, however, denied by the Federal Government’s lawyer who insisted that the motion was filed early enough.
However, the presiding judge of the
ECOWAS Court panel, Justice Hameye Mahalmadane, said that the court
paper filed by the Federal Government had to be interpreted to the panel
members who were all French-speaking.