The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has sued Nigeria’s State Security Service (SSS) over allegations of gross violation of his fundamental human rights.
Mr Kanu is being held by the SSS at its headquarters in Abuja, after the Nigerian government repatriated him from Kenya in June this year, an action his lawyers termed “abduction.”
He is standing trial on charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism before a federal court in Abuja.
Maxwell Opara, one of Mr Kanu’s lawyers, told journalists on Monday that, “a medical doctor engaged by the SSS has extracted Nnamdi Kanu’s blood samples over 21 times.”
In the new suit, Mr Opara said despite a subsisting order by the trial judge, Binta Nyako, compelling the spy agency to allow Mr Kanu change his clothes and practice his Jewish faith, the SSS flagrantly ignored the orders.
The Director-General of the SSS, Yusuf Bichi, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, were listed as Respondents in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/21.
Mr Opara, while briefing reporters on Monday, recounted his last visit to the SSS detention facility, where his client reportedly complained “bitterly” about the doctor extracting his blood, whom he suspected to be a “quack.”
“Nnamdi Kanu said his demand for the security agency to grant him access to his medical record was repeatedly refused,” Mr Opara said.
‘How Kanu’s rights are being violated’
In an affidavit of urgency deposed to by Mr Kanu’s younger brother, Emmanuel, the SSS is said to have subjected the IPOB leader to “solitary confinement which is a form of mental and physical torture.”
This action, he said, “subjects the applicant (Mr Kanu) to inhuman and degrading treatment and in turn constitutes a violation of Section 34(1)(a) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“The respondents (SSS and AGF) have deprived the applicant access to facility and material to practice his faith and ultimately prevented the Applicant from praying and/or practicing his faith, and the aforesaid constitute a breach of the Applicant’s right to practice his religion.
“The applicant is a Nigerian citizen who is entitled to the enjoyment of the fundamental rights enshrined in chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and Article 5 and 8 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.
“The respondents have deprived the Applicant access to facility and material to practice his faith and ultimately prevented the Applicant from praying and/or practicing his faith, and the aforesaid constitute a breach of the applicant’s right to practice his religion.
“The respondents prevented the applicant from having access to a medical practitioner and legal practitioner of his choice.
“The respondent subjected the applicant to solitary confinement which is a form of mental and physical torture and as such subjects the applicant to inhuman and degrading treatment and in turn constitutes a violation of Section 34(1)(a) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.
“The applicant’s right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and torture/humiliation is enshrined in Section 34(1)(a) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN,” the affidavit read in part.
Relying on “Order (ii) Rule (i) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 209, Mr Kanu Junior said the law “empowers any person who alleges that any of the fundamental rights to which he is entitled to is being, has been, or is likely to be infringed upon to apply to the court for a redress.”
“The respondents have no justification to have subjected the Applicant to indignity, humiliation, mental torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.”
Mr Kanu urged the court to order the SSS and the AGF “to immediately allow” him access to “medical facility and material for the practice of his religion.
His other prayers read, “An order of this court directing the Respondents to immediately allow the Applicant to appointing an independent Medical Practitioner of his choice from a certified government hospital to review the Applicant’s medical files.
“An order directing the Respondents to allow the Applicant access to a medical practitioner of his choice and a legal practitioner of his choice.
“An order of this court directing the Respondents to immediately remove the Applicant from solitary confinement.”
The IPOB leader prayed for “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondents, their authorised agents by whatever name so called, from further disturbing or interfering with the rights of the Applicant to dignity of human person and freedom thought, conscience and religion or in any way infringing on the constitutional rights of the Applicant as guaranteed by law or from making any attempt capable of violating the Applicant’s rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.”
At the last sitting in Mr Kanu’s trial on December 2, the trial judge, Mrs Nyako adjusted the hearing date in the suit to January 19, 2022, after his defence team staged a walk-out on the judge on November 10.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who led other defence lawyers on the walk-out on the judge in the previous proceedings, had applied for an abridgement of time in the trial for an urgent hearing of his pending applications.
One of such applications challenges the competence of the charges instituted against his client.
But, the prosecuting lawyer, Shuaibu Labaran, opposed the request for abridgement of time, informing the judge he had filed a counter-application.
After listening to arguments by the two opposing lawyers, the judge said the court’s diary was already congested due to her busy schedule, and adjourned the suit till January 19, bringing the date forward by one day.
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