From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has granted an application by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to apply for an order of mandamus compelling the Department of State Service (DSS) to allow him have unhindered access to his medical doctor.
In his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, Kanu said he would need his doctors to conduct an independent examination to ascertain his state of health.
The ex parte application, among others, sought for an order granting him leave to, “apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to allow him unhindered access to his medical doctors to enable them to conduct an independent examination of his present deteriorating health condition, as earlier ordered by the Federal High Court, Abuja, Coram,. Justice B.F.M. Nyako, on the 21st day of October, 2021; and as required by the express provisions of section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017”.
In addition, he sought for “an order of this Honourable Court granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to avail the Applicant with all his medical records, from the 29th day of June 2021, till date”.
Justice Binta Nyako had, after hearing from Kanu’s legal team, headed by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, with Sir Ifeanyi Ejiofor, granted the application.
While adjourning the matter till February 21, the court directed Kanu’s legal team to serve all the relevant processes on both the DSS and its Director General, who were cited as first and second Respondents in the matter.
Kanu listed some of the records he would require from the DSS, including his admission records, medical and clinical notes, nursing notes, observation charts and documentation during treatment or stay-in-hospital, laboratory test results, pharmaceutical records, radiological scans, images and reports, blood transfusion records, physiotherapy and rehabilitative treatment records, clinical findings, as well as diagnosis and treatment prescribed records.
He noted that trial Justice Nyako had, on October 21, 2021, ordered that he should be allowed access to three persons of his choice, including his medical doctors.
Kanu argued that section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, provided that a person arrested, detained or undergoing, custodial investigation, shall have the right to demand a physical and psychological examination by an independent and competent doctor of his own choice after interrogation, which shall be conducted outside the influence of the police or security forces.
“The Respondents have repeatedly denied the Applicant access to medical doctors of his choice to independently examine him, contrary to the order of the court made on the 21st October, 2021; and the express provisions of Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017,” he added.
In a verifying affidavit that was deposed to by one Chimmuanya Emenari, Kanu told the court that prior to the time he was abducted in Kenya and extra-ordinarily rendered back to Nigeria, he visited a Specialist Cardiologist every week for medical examination and treatment.
“Medical reports containing the medical history of the Applicant as was issued by medical specialists managing the Applicant before his abduction in Kenya and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria are, hereby, attached and variously marked as Exhibits MNK 3, MNK 4 and MNK 5.
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“That notwithstanding, the fact that the Applicant has been discharged by the appellate court and his further detention prohibited, the Applicant is still being held in solitary confinement in the custody of the Respondents, where he is exposed to daily mental and psychological torture and degradation of his human person.