Mike Ozekhome Heads For Supreme Court, Seeks Nnamdi Kanu’s Freedom
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has headed to the Supreme Court.
The lawyer, on Friday filed an appeal before the Supreme Court, seeking the intervention of the apex court to set aside the order staying the execution of Kanu’s release.
Ozekhome argued that the Federal Government had failed to act on the decision of the Court of Appeal which granted a stay of execution of the judgment of the same court delivered on October 13, 2022.
IPOB’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, speaking through a statement on Friday, stated that the Federal Government, having secured “this unprecedented reprehensible order for stay, went back to sleep and ostensibly abandoned its appeal”.
Ejiofor also noted that Kanu’s legal team had filed an appeal before the Supreme Court “wherein we are seeking the intervention of the apex court to set aside the order staying the execution of Onyendu’s judgment”.
“We also cross-appealed to the Supreme Court to determine pertinent fundamental issues pertaining to the judgment of the Court of Appeal. However, the Federal Government has yet to file any processes in response thereto,” Ejiofor added.
A copy of the appeal obtained by Saturday PUNCH on Friday was labelled: CA/ABJ/CR/625/2022 and signed by Kanu’s legal team led by Ozekhome.
Kanu, according to the suit, is seeking “an order of this Honourable Court striking out and/or dismissing the Respondent’s Appeal No: SC/CR/1361/2022, for want of diligent prosecution.
“An order of this Honourable Court setting down the Applicant’s cross-appeal for hearing, and for such further order(s) this Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances of this case.”
The team argued that by Section 6 (1) of the Supreme Court (Criminal Appeals) Practice Direction 2013, the respondent had only 10 days within which to file and serve the appellant’s brief of argument, upon the service of record of appeal.
“Order 2 Rule 29 (1) & (2) and Order 6 Rule 9 of the Supreme Court Rules, (As Amended 2014) empowers the Applicant to make the instant application.
“Parties were served with the record of appeal on November 2, 2022. The ten days stipulated under the Fast Track Rules of this Honourable Court for the respondent to file its Appellant’s Brief have since elapsed.
“The Respondent is not diligent in prosecuting its appeal. The purpose of this Honourable Court’s Rules and Practice Directions is to provide fair, impartial and expeditious administration of criminal appeals, especially in relation to offences of terrorism, rape, kidnapping, corruption, money laundering and human trafficking.
“On October 28, 2022, the lower court while relying on the Notice of Appeal filed by the Respondent, granted the Respondent’s application for stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court, and consequently stayed the execution of its judgment delivered on October 13, 2022, which discharged the Applicant and prohibited his further detention (Pages 838-856)
“The Respondent which obtained an order of stay of execution of the judgment of the lower court, on the basis of this appeal, has not demonstrated any good faith in prosecuting the said appeal
“Owing to the pendency of the instant appeal, the Applicant who was discharged by the lower court on October 13, 2022, is still in the custody of the Appellant/Respondent’s State Security Service, where he has been held in solitary confinement since the June 29, 2021,” part of the ground of application read.