By Ifeanyi Ejiofor
In the quick reaction of the Attorney General of the Federation, to the erudite and unassailable Judgement of the Court of Appeal just delivered yesterday (Thursday) on our Appeal, he indicated that the Federal Government is considering the options it has, including proceeding only with the counts that were pending against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu before the bloody invasion of his house on the 14th of September, 2017.
Now, for the avoidance of doubt, the Federal Government has no OPTIONS. It has ONLY one option, namely, to appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court.
And the exercise of this later option shall not constitute a bar to immediate compliance with the order of the Court of Appeal which directed for immediate and unconditional release of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The order made by the Learned Justices of the court of Appeal is sacrosanct and must be obeyed immediately without further ado.
Further, the Attorney General of the Federation reference to the charge pending against Onyendu before he left Nigeria in 2017, and the indication that the Federal Government may continue with the charge really shows his total disconnect with the law, with greatest respect to his office.
It is to be noted that the remaining 7 Count charge that was struck out by the Court of Appeal after it allowed the appeal on the ground that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to try onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is the same charge (with the same charge Number – to wit: FRN VS NNAMDI KANU, CHARGE NO: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, that has been pending against Onyendu MAZI NNAMDI Kanu at the Federal High Court since 2015.
The prosecution has Amended this charge about 7 times. It is the same charge that was amended to include other counts that brought the counts to 7 and then to 15.
The Federal High Court struck out 8 counts and retained 7.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal struck out the whole charge and held that the lower court had no jurisdiction to try Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
That being so, that charge that has been pending against MNK since 2015 and containing counts of alleged offences committed by him before he escaped from being killed in Nigeria in 2017, no longer exists.
It has been struck out.
There is therefore no existing charge on the basis of which the Federal High Court can proceed and try Onyendu.
Accordingly, as it stands today, there is no criminal charge pending against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The declaration by the Court of Appeal that the Federal High Court has no jurisdiction to try Onyendu MAZI NNAMDI KANU because of the illegality of his abduction and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria is an all pervading instrumentality that effectively bars any indictment of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in any court in Nigeria.
As his forceful abduction in Kenya and rendition to Nigeria violates all known International Conventions and Protocols to which Nigeria is a state party, no prosecution against him in Nigeria can ever be undertaken.
This is because a cause of action cannot arise from a base ground- Ex turpi causa non oritur actio.
The Attorney General of the Federation should be appropriately guided in law.
I implore him to meticulously read the full judgement of the Court of Appeal, immediately comply with Orders made therein and possibly consider the most appropriate option of voluntarily resigning, for exposing the Federal Government to this international embarrassment /ridicule.
@views exclusive rights: Sir Ifeanyi Ejiofor, IPOB’s Lead Counsel, 14th October 2022.