The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court, sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday threatened to rule on the appeal filed against the Federal Government by the detained leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Justice Friday Nwoke, who heard the case, expressed shock at the poor manner the Federal Government had responded to it, especially its flimsy excuses for non-appearance before the regional court on the matter.
Justice Nwoke warned that if the Nigerian government failed again to appear at the court’s next sitting, he would rule on the matter.
The court awarded the sum of N1 million as costs against the Federal Government to Kanu’s lawyer, to cover the expenses he incurred on his trip to Abuja for the proceedings without the government’s appearance.
Only on Tuesday, the ECOWAS Court had awarded the sum of N15 million as damages to detained former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) for his unjust incarceration by the Federal Government. The court also ordered the Government to release Dasuki because his rights to freedom and property had been violated by the Nigerian authorities.
Kanu, who has been in detention since October last year, approached the ECOWAS court to seek the enforcement of his fundamental rights.
At yesterday’s proceedings, the absence of the Federal Government’s counsel compelled Justice Nwoke to accede to the request of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s lawyer, for the court to award the sum as costs against the government.
The Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) had applied for an adjournment on the grounds that it had another matter in Kaduna State to attend.
Ejiofor, who opposed the application, submitted that the request was a ploy to keep the detained IPOB leader in perpetual incarceration.
In his bench ruling, Justice Nwoke held that the court case in Kaduna was not enough reason for the government’s absence at the proceedings.
He stressed that if the Federal Government’s representative fails to appear at the next adjourned date, the court would have no choice but to go ahead and deliver its final judgment in the case.
Consequently, Justice Nwoke adjourned the suit till November 8, 2016, for hearing and final judgment.
In the Dasuki’s case, the regional court held that his detention violated both national and international laws on the rights of persons and citizens to freedom and liberty.
Justice Nwoke, who ruled on the case, imposed a fine of N15 million on Nigeria as compensatory damages to Dasuki for the deprivation of his freedom to liberty and property.
He dismissed the allegations of unlawful possession of firearms and economic crimes used by the Federal Government to justify the detention of the ex-NSA.