From Duncan Odey, Umuahia

Amid tight security, the Abia State High Court, Umuahia on Tuesday, September 21, adjourned Nnamdi Kanu’s fundamental rights suit filed before the court on August 27 by his counsel, Aloy Ejimakor. The matter came up before the vacation judge, Justice KCJ Okereke.

Speaking to the media, Barrister Ejimakor expressed confidence in the capacity of the Abia High Court to uphold the law by enforcing Kanu’s human rights.

‘There is an unbroken chain of federal government’s violations of Kanu’s constitutional rights that started with the lethal military invasion of his home in Umuahia and his flight to safety in 2017 and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria in late June 2021,’ Ejimakor said.

At today’s hearing, it emerged that out of the eight respondents, only two – the DSS in Abuja and Umuahia – have filed their reply to the suit but their processes were filed out of time. Nothing was received from the other six respondents, which includes the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Nigerian Army.

It also emerged that an apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Alaigbo Development Foundation (ADF) has filed an application seeking leave of the court to file an amicus (friend of court) brief in support of Kanu.

Barrister Ejimakor appeared for Kanu in company of several lawyers, two of whom were introduced as Barristers Patrick Agazie and Wilson Kalu. Also in court to observe the proceedings was Mazi Igboayaka Igboayaka, the President of Ohanaeze Youths Worldwide, who told the media that he had come to demonstrate solidarity of Ohanaeze Youths with Nnamdi Kanu in the suit.

In making his ruling for adjournment of the matter, the judge noted that Kanu shall be entitled to certain reliefs against any party that fails to timely respond to the suit.

When queried on the chances of success of the suit, Barrister Ejimakor drew some inspiration from the September 17 fundamental rights judgment of Oyo State High Court in favor of Sunday Adeyemo (Igboho) and against the Federal Government.

Ejimakor said that ‘the Oyo State High Court judgment in Igboho’s case (which is similar to Kanu) restates the locus classicus on the wide jurisdiction of state high courts when it comes to enforcement of the fundamental rights stipulated under the Nigerian Constitution and the African Charter.’