You made a statement sometimes ago that Nnamdi Kanu would not be tried in any Nigerian court. What do you mean by that?
Yes, I did. But let me put it another way. Even though Kanu was undoubtedly amenable to prosecution or trial based on the charges pending against him from 2015, his subsequent extraordinary rendition from Kenya has changed all that. That’s why I commenced the constitutional suit that is now pending before the High Court of Abia State. But because this question is now subjudice, I cannot comment on its merits but I can give you an excerpt of the case-in-chief that I adduced in the originating processes I filed in court.
My case-in- chief is this: That it is fundamentally wrong for the Nigerian State to levy a lethal military attack on Nnamdi Kanu at his home in Abia State while he was free on bond and having failed to kill him, to then pursue him to Kenya and abduct him without due pro- cess of law. The abduction, the torture that followed and the unlawful imprisonment in Kenya, plus his consequent expulsion from Kenya to Nigeria, are manifestly unconstitutional and amount to infringement of his fundamental rights. There’s an unbroken chain of notorious violations that started in Afara-Ukwu, Abia State in late 2017 and culminated in Kenya in June 2021.
It is trite that when a state forcibly takes a fugitive suspect from a foreign country to its territory without giving the person the benefit of the extradition process, it amounts to an act of extraordinary rendition that, without more, triggers insurmountable legal barriers to prosecution. Under applicable laws, a renditioned fugitive is entitled to a body of remedies known as collectively reparations, which includes restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition. One such law provides that ‘restitution should restore the victim to the original situation before the gross violations of international human rights law. Restitution includes restoration of liberty and return to one’s place of residence.’ In many nations, extraordinary rendition has been held by the courts to be a legal barrier to prosecution. I will give one example with the United Kingdom in disregard of available extradition process and in breach of international law and the laws of the state where the defendant had been found, the courts in the United Kingdom should take cognisance of those circumstances and refuse to try the defendant.” I know that Kanu’s case is unique, novel and presents matters of first impression. Yet, it presents a golden opportunity for a Nigerian court to determine whether it’s lawful for the Nigerian state to make an extrajudicial attempt on his life in 2017 and having failed, to then pursue him to Kenya, abduct him, torture him and rendition him to Nigeria without due process of law, all because he is engaged in self- determination, which is a protected political opinion but one which the government of the day is seeking to suppress by means of punishment of some sort. If what they did to Kanu is legal, why did they resort to the extradition processes of Benin Republic and why is America equally applying to extradite Abba Kyari instead of simply levying extraordinary rendition on him? That’s the crux of the matter.Do you see his non-production in court by the DSS, in recent legal appearances, as a vindication of your statement, or prophecy, as it were?Let me put it this way: Democratic Nigeria has never had a successful treason trial. Since 1960, democratic Nigeria has had many treason trials without any – except for that of Obafemi Awolowo – netting a conviction or even coming close. No other person has ever been convicted of treason or its garden varieties like treasonable felony or sedition throughout all the democratic dispensations in Nigeria.