The Federal Government has urged the Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sitting in Abuja to dismiss a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
It stated that Kanu having been granted bail and allegedly escaped from his ongoing trial before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the judgment of the ECOWAS Court on the suit would serve no purpose.
Kanu had filed the suit on March 3, 2016 demanding $800m as compensation from the Federal Government for his alleged unlawful arrest in 2015 and continued detention.
But the lawyer representing 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 leader’s suit.
She also noted that Kanu having allegedly jumped the bail granted him by the Federal High Court, Abuja, event had overtaken the 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.”
Mr. Thomas Etah, who deposed to an affidavit filed in support of the Federal Government’s motion, stated that Kanu 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 (Federal Government).
“That this suit before this honourable court has been overtaken by events and has become devoid of purpose.”
Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told the ECOWAS Court on November 21 that he needed to respond to the application by the Federal Government.
He alleged that the Federal Government deliberately delayed the filing of the motion in order to frustrate the hearing of the case.
But the Federal Government’s lawyer denied the allegation insisting that the motion was filed early enough.
The presiding judge of the ECOWAS Court panel, Justice Hameye Mahalmadane, also noted that the court paper filed by the Federal Government had to be interpreted to the panel members who were all French-speaking.
The court adjourned until February 7 for hearing.