Chris Steven, Abuja
Following the failure of the Federal Government, and its relevant agencies to implement an order made by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of an Abuja Federal High Court which had directed an unconditional release of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, the IPOB leader has sued the government and Department of State Services (DSS) for contempt of court.
In the contempt proceedings initiated before a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja, the IPOB leader also sued the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) for non-execution of the court order dated December 17, 2015.
It will be recalled that during the hearing of the three count charges filed before the Chief Magistrate Court Wuse Zone 2, against Kanu by the DSS, and after the said Court had granted him bail, the DSS surreptitiously routed to the Federal High Court where they obtained an order from Justice Ademola to detain Kanu for another period of 90 days, pursuant to relevant sections of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
According to a statement by Kanu’s lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, thus order was obtained exparte after the Court was erroneously made to believe that the DSS was investigating terrorism offences against Nnamdi Kanu.
Ejiofor said: “The order made on the 17 th day of December, 2016 by His Lordship, Hon. Justice A.F.A. Ademola, directing the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu was served on the State Security Services that same day the order was made.”
“Still, the Department of State Security Services failed, refused and/or neglected to obey the order directing the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, apparently due to reasons best known to them, which has no justification under any law.
“Thirteen days after this order was made, specifically on the 30 th day of December, 2015, the President, Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria- President Muhammadu Buhari, announced to the whole world during his presidential media chat that Nnamdi Kanu cannot be granted bail by any Court in Nigeria.
“This extra judicial pronouncement by the Executive had continued to influence the direction of Nnamdi Kanu’s political trial, as part of the reasons given by the President during this Presidential media chat was quoted by the trial Court, as constituting the grounds militating against Nnamdi kanu’s freedom, while delivering Ruling on his bail application” .
This extra judicial pronouncement by the Executive, according to the lawyer of the IPOB leader, had continued to influence the direction of Kanu’s political trial, as part of the reasons given by the President during this Presidential media chat when he said no court can grant him bail.
“It was quoted by the trial Court, as constituting the grounds militating against Nnamdi kanu’s freedom, while delivering ruling on his bail application.” He said
“It is of elementary knowledge that an order of Court is a law, which must be obeyed by all and sundry, including all institutions of Government. It is the law that Orders of the Court no matter how it looks must be obeyed. But the anti-democratic forces have continued to treat with disdain and levity, positive orders of the Court granted in favour of Nnamdi kanu, particularly in his politically orchestrated trial,” Ejiofor said.
According to him, the order made by Justice Ademola directing the unconditional release of IPOB leader has not been obeyed by the relevant institutions of Government affected by that order.
“It is on the face of this flagrant disobedience to the order of Court directing the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu that we formally filed Form 48 (Notice of consequences of disobedience to Court Order) and Form 49 (Notice to show cause why the parties named in the application cannot be committed for contempt) respectively, on September 28, 2016, before the Chief Registrar of the Federal High Court Maitama, Abuja.
“The parties we are requesting the Court to commit for contempt in the application under reference, are the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation (who is the Chief Law officer of the Federation) and the Director General of the State Security Services.
“Upon the assignment of the application to a Court that will hear the contempt proceedings against the heads of these institutions that are in contempt of court order, a date will be given for a formal hearing of the contempt proceeding which in accordance with the relevant laws is a criminal proceedings.
“Very pertinent to note that none of the affected institutions of the Government affected by this order, nor the Federal Government has lodged an appeal against the order directing the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu. It is more so, when this order has not been vacated till date”, he added.