An Abuja-based human rights lawyer, Pelumi Olajengbesi, says any attempt by the Federal Government to appeal the judgement of a High Court in Abia State, in favour of Nnamdi Kanu, will amount to a demonstration of bad faith towards the rule of law.
Olajengbesi made this known in a statement on Wednesday while reacting to the ruling of Justice Benson Anya ordering the Federal Government to pay the embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra N1bn in damages for violating his fundamental rights.
Kanu had approached the court demanding N5bn over the invasion of his father’s house by the military on September 10, 2017.
Justice Anya on Wednesday stated that the Federal Government violated Kanu’s fundamental rights through the invasion of his father’s house. The judge ordered the government to issue a letter of apology to Kanu, pay him N1bn damages, and recommended political solution to resolve the IPOB leader’s detention and agitation.
In his reaction to the development, Olajengbesi said the government should not attempt to appeal the award of damages to Kanu just like it appealed the N20bn damages awarded to Yoruba Nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho in September 2021.
Olajengbesi, who resigned as a member of the legal team of Igboho in December 2021, said, “The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), should not make the mistake he made in September 2021 when he appealed the judgment of an Oyo State High Court which awarded N20 billion in damages against the government over the July 1, 2021 invasion of Sunday Igboho’s Ibadan residence.
“The AGF and the Federal Government should this time around respect the rule of law and obey the ruling of the court in Abia on the damages awarded against it by the court.
“The Federal Government should do as the court as ruled; pay the N1bn damages to Kanu and explore political solutions to resolve the agitation for secession as well as the release of the detained IPOB leader.
“Anything to the contrary is a miscarriage of justice and a flagrant disrespect to the rule of law and the entire third tier of government which is the judiciary.”
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had during an interview on January 5, 2022, said he won’t interfere in the independence of the judiciary.
“Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him (Kanu),” Buhari had said.
However, Kanu appeared in court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the 15 charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism, preferred against him by the Federal Government.
Justice Nyako subsequently adjourned the trial of Kanu till February 16, 2022.
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