The Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, 11th October 2019 dismissed a suit by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, filed against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, alleging that he was tortured, assaulted and subjected to inhuman treatment by security operatives when he was arrested in 2015.
According to the regional court, in its judgement that was read by Justice Dupe Atoki, held that the IPOB leader failed to prove its allegations against FG.
It asserted that the court had no reason to conclude that his arrest and detention were unlawful and arbitrary as claimed.
The three-member panel of the Court also dismissed Kanu’s request for monetary compensation.
Though the Court acknowledged that the IPOB leader had the legal capacity to approach it to seek redress for any violation of his human rights, it, however, held that without a mandate, he lacked the legal personality to represent the IPOB before the Court.
Also, the court further struck out names of the second and third defendants who are the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF) and the Director-General of the Department of State Service,(DG, DSS) from the suit on the premise that they were not signatories to the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, thus leaving only the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the sole defendant in the suit.
However, FG’s lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Abubakar, prayed the court to dismiss the suit which he contended lacked merit.
FG argued that the country was obliged to enforce the rule of law as stipulated in its Constitution, Treaties and Protocol that included defending the sovereignty of an undivided Nigeria.
The counsel added that activities of IPOB were secessionist in nature as it instigated a separationist agenda among the people of the country’s South-East and South-South regions, using its Biafra Radio.
The Lawyer further averred that acts of the plaintiff were intended to garner support for the war against the defendant and carve out a geo-political area to be declared “The Republic of Biafra.
” Consequently, he argued that the defendant initiated an investigation into the allegations against the plaintiff that led to his arrest and discovery of illegal firearms and radio transmitters in his possession, items he said posed security risk to the country.
He added that the defendant was investigated while in detention for offences of criminal conspiracy, managing and belonging to an illegal society, saying though he was granted bail, he was detained again on fresh charges that bordered on treasonable felony.
He was granted bail but later escaped justice by escaping out of Nigerian borders.