The Supreme Court has fixed September 14, 2023 for definite hearing of the appeal filed by the federal government to challenge the request to release the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
In fixing the date, the apex court said there was no other time to hear the matter before that date.
The court’s position followed Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome’s (SAN) plea for a short adjournment yesterday so that his client would not die in detention.
But in his response, Justice John Inyang Okoro, said Kanu will not die and called for the court’s diary.
He said the only available short date is September 14, 2023.
According to him, “it would amount to an exercise in futility if any of the application is taken because there is no time to write the ruling and deliver it in three months’ time, particularly as the court would proceed on vacation soon.”
Justice Okoro also said that the apex court is preoccupied with political cases which are time bound.
Meanwhile, the apex court has granted four separate applications brought by the federal government.
The IPOB leader was taken into custody from Kenya in November 2021 after he was brought back into the country by security operatives.
The hearing of the main appeal which was scheduled for yesterday, could not hold as the federal government insisted it wants to file its response to an objection raised by Ozekhome in his brief of argument.
The apex court had at the last adjourned date, April 27, 2023, gave the federal government six days to file all her processes and serve the same on Kanu.
When the court reconvened yesterday, Tijani Gazali (SAN) who stood for the federal government told the court that he needed time to respond to the objection raised by Ozekhome in his brief of argument that was served on him on Wednesday for an extension of time and to deem as properly filed and served on respondents the processes it filed out of time.
In his reply, Ozekhome said that the appellant could respond orally to the objection contained in his brief of argument and allow the main appeal to be heard.
Ozekhome appealed to the panel of justices to grant a short adjournment if the appeal is not heard in view of Kanu’s worsening health conditions or alternatively hear his bail application.
“If this is not possible, my Lords kindly hear the respondent’s application seeking to transfer Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS), to the National Correctional Centre,” Ozekhome said.
The senior lawyer said he made the plea because Kanu will die in DSS custody.
It would also be recalled that the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, had on October 13, 2022, cleared Nnamdi Kanu of alleged treason and terrorism charges against him and dismissed the remaining six count charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
The Court of Appeal faulted the processes adopted by the Federal Government in renditing Kanu back to Nigeria from Kenya on the grounds that it breached all known international protocol.