The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, has urged the Federal High Court to decline jurisdiction to adjudicate on the charge of treasonable felony filed against him by the Federal Government.
Kanu, who maintained that he was not guilty to the seven-count charges, stated that from the amended charge, the only element required to constitute and found liability for incitement allegedly occurred wholly and entirely in London, United Kingdom, and not anywhere in Nigeria.
In his preliminary objections, Kanu argued that the alleged broadcasts were not shown to have occurred “at the sea or on the international waters abutting Nigeria”, adding that “I know as a fact that London, United Kingdom is a sovereign state under International Municipal Law and has municipal laws punishing criminal offences”.
The preliminary objections filed by counsel to Kanu, Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, further stated that “I also know as a fact that jurisdiction is extrinsic to adjudication. It is conferred on a Court, aliunde. It is not intrinsic.
‘That I know as a matter of fact, that as the elements necessary to constitute incitement in the alleged several broadcasts of the Defendant/Applicant occurred in London, United Kingdom, and Not in Nigeria, the Court in Nigeria has no jurisdiction to try the Defendant/Applicant on any charge founded on any such alleged incitement, even if the Defendant/Applicant enters within the geographical boundaries of Nigeria”.
The affidavit in support of the objection deposed to by Chinwe Umeche averred that “the alleged offences for which the defendant was charged, do not constitute terrorism offences in London, United Kingdom, where they were allegedly committed.
“I am further aware that there is an obligation on the Attorney General of the Federation, to maintain International co-operation for compliance with International Treaties on terrorism.
“The Defendant was abducted from Kenya and consequently extraordinarily rendered to Nigeria, without firstly subjecting him to extradition proceedings in Kenya.
“This is a violation of all known international conventions and treaties on extradition.
“Prosecuting the Defendant on the 7-count charge would amount to allowing the Complainant to benefit from their illegality and wrongdoing
“I am aware that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands, and no party should be allowed to benefit from his wrongdoing.
“I know as a matter of fact, that the extraordinary rendition of the defendant robs the honourable court of the requisite jurisdiction of trying the defendant on counts 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the charge.
“Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the charge were brought under a non-existent law.
“Count 3 of the charge relates to an offence allegedly committed in Ubuluisiuzor, in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, which is outside the territorial jurisdiction of the court.
“An offence can only be tried by a court exercising jurisdiction over the place or area where the alleged offence was committed.
“Counts 5, 6 and 7 of the charge did not disclose an offence known to law.
“There is no proof of evidence attached to the charge filed against the defendant.
“Even the purported proof of evidence to be relied upon by the prosecution does not disclose any prima facie case against the defendant.
“From the list of exhibits and witnesses attached to the charge, there is nothing relating to or linking defendant to the 7-count charge, particularly counts 4, 5, 6 and 7 thereof.
“No final pronouncement has been made on the purported proscription of the Indigenous People of Biafra, as the said purported proscription, is a subject matter of Appeal in Appeal No: CA/A/214/2018, pending before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.
“The defendant/applicant cannot be arraigned anew or tried for an offence when the judgment that made a pronouncement on the instrument constituting a state of affairs as such an offence, is the subject matter of an appeal.
“It will be most unjust, painful, wicked and unfair for the applicant to undergo the rigours of a full trial, when the charge as constituted, does not disclose a prima facie case against him.
“There is no ground for this court to proceed with the trial against the applicant in the circumstance of this case.
“The Court has the powers and a duty to stop a prosecution which on the facts creates abuse and injustice.
“It will be in the best interest of justice if the present 7-count charge is struck out and or dismissed”.
Kanu in addition asked the following questions for determination: “Whether the court has the requisite jurisdiction to try the defendant on the 7- count charge, in view of the extraordinary rendition of the said defendant/applicant.
“Whether the court has the jurisdiction to try the defendant/applicant for alleged acts constituted wholly by elements that occurred within the space geographical space of a foreign sovereign nation and outside the jurisdiction of the court.
“Whether the defendant/applicant can be prosecuted for allegedly belonging to a proscribed organisation when the purported proscription of the organisation is the subject of appeal in appeal no: CA/A/214/2018, pending at the court of appeal, Abuja division?
“Whether the information as laid under counts 1, 2 and 3 of the amended charge is not founded under a non-existed law?
“Whether the Radio broadcast allegedly made by the defendant/applicant constitutes an offence of reasonable felony as envisaged under section 41 (c) of the criminal code Act, CAP C.38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004?
“Whether the information contained in counts 5,6 and 7 of the charge discloses the commission of any offence known to law?
“Whether the proof of evidence in support of the 7- count charge discloses a prima facie case against the defendant/applicant”.
Kanu therefore argued that his extraordinary extradition from Kenya to Nigeria robs the court of the requisite jurisdiction to try him.
“We respectfully urge your Lordship to decline jurisdiction to entertain the instant charges, as the alleged offences contained therein, were allegedly committed wholly in London, United Kingdom, and Anambra State, outside the territorial jurisdiction of this court.
“The court is further urged to strike out and/or dismiss the count of the charge which are incompetent and brought pursuant to unknown provisions of the laws.
“We further urge this court to hold that the purported proof of evidence to be relied upon by the did not disclose any prima facie case against the defendant, that will invoke the power of this court to set down the case for trial.
“The 7 count charge filed by the prosecution, we respectfully submit, is not only as naked and empty as a worthless paper, but not founded on existing laws, and the court is respectfully urged to, upon a meritorious consideration of the grounds upon which the objection is predicated, and argument in support thereof, to dismiss in its entirety this seven-count charge and accordingly discharge and acquit the defendant/applicant on those charges”.