Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has conveyed to the Federal Government that he will not plead for his release after being cleared by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja. A letter dated August 25, 2023, signed by Kanu’s principal lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, outlined this stance. The letter came to light late on August 28, 2023.
Ozekhome had expressed concern about the dire conditions of Kanu’s detention facility under the Department of State Services’ custody. He urged the Chief Judge of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory to appoint a Magistrate to inspect the detention center.
Kanu asserted that requesting his freedom at this juncture would be an affront to the memory of the late Pa Mbazulike Amechi. Despite his advanced age and poor health, Pa Mbazulike Amechi had repeatedly journeyed from the South-East to Abuja to implore the Federal Government to honor his final wish. Regrettably, this request was scorned and disregarded.
These sentiments were the focal points of the conversation during the meeting between the IPOB leader, his legal team, and family. A statement from Kanu’s attorney, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, titled “Update on our routine visit to our indefatigable client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu,” detailed the encounter at the Headquarters of the State Security Services in Abuja, where Kanu is being held in solitary confinement without legal basis.
Ejiofor stated, “Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu used the opportunity offered by the visit to extend his heartfelt gratitude to all people of good conscience and groups calling for his release.
He however, observed that many people may not have understood the peculiarity of his case, but proceeded to urge us to clarify that he has been effectively and validly discharged by the judgment of the Court of Appeal, delivered October 13, 2022, which said judgment also prohibited his further trial and detention. Therefore, there is no charge pending against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu before any court as of today.”
The statement continued, “Furthermore, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu unequivocally stated that begging the Federal Government to release him at this point is an insult to the memory of late Pa Mbazulike Amaechi, who despite his age and ill health, repeatedly travelled from the South-East to Abuja, begging the Federal Government of Nigeria, to honour his dying wish, which request was treated with the greatest disdain by the Federal Government, and was also not honoured.”
Hence, Kanu firmly believes that he need not implore the Federal Government for his release, as the Court of Appeal’s ruling has addressed this matter definitively. Instead, the emphasis should be on the Supreme Court promptly scheduling a hearing for the appeal lodged by the Federal Government, as stipulated in the Criminal Appeals Practice Directions of the Supreme Court.
Kanu’s legal team visited him on August 28, 2023, to inform him about the actions taken to address concerns regarding his well-being and the Department of State Services’ failure to provide his medical records, as directed by Justice Binta Nyako’s judgment on July 20, 2023.
In response, a request was submitted by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, to the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory to appoint a Magistrate to inspect the SSS facility where Kanu has been held in solitary confinement since June 2021, in accordance with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
In light of the SSS’s refusal to comply with the court order to provide Kanu’s medical records, Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, initiated a contempt proceeding against the State Security Service and its Director General. This action was prompted by the agency’s blatant violation of a court order.
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