….As Appeal Court reserves judgment indefinitely
The Federal Government on Monday claimed that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu is a threat to national security and a flight risk with the capacity to flee the country before the determination of its appeal against the October 13 judgment freeing Kanu.
A lawyer for the Federal Ministry of Justice, David Kaswe made the claim while arguing, before the Court of Appeal in Abuja on Monday an application by Fed Govt for the stay of execution of the court’s October 13 judgment which discharged the terrorism-related charge on which Kanu was being tried.
Kaswe said: “The application was brought in the interest of justice and to preserve the security in the South East and the country.
“We have demonstrated that the respondent (Kanu) is a flight risk. If the judgment does not stay until our appeal is heard and determined by the Supreme Court, it will be difficult for us to lay our hands on the respondent to bring him back to court to face the charge against him.
“The respondent has shown that he has the capacity to jump bail,” he said.
Kaswe added that should Kanu be released from custody, it could impact negatively on the security situation in the South East.
He said should the judgment be executed now and Kanu released, it would negatively impact national security, particularly as it relates to the South East.
Kaswe prayed the court to grant the sole prayer in the application in the interest of justice and unity of the country.
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Responding, Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) accused the Fed Govt of being in contempt of court.
Ozekhome argued that the Fed Govt filed its application to overrule the judgment of the court.
He claimed that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) has boasted on many occasions that government would not obey the judgment.
Ozekhome argued that as against the government’s claim, Kanu’s release would bring peace and tranquility to the South East and the country.
He added that the application by the Fed Govt was to stay the execution of Kanu’s liberty and urged the court not to indulge the government.
Ozekhome contended that there was no valid appeal by the Fed Govt at the Supreme Court, noting that the court cannot stay execution when there is no valid appeal.
He prayed the court to dismiss the application.
Ozekhome earlier told the court that his client was ill and needed to undergo an operation and urged the court to insist that the government complies with its judgment.
At the conclusion of the lawyers’ submissions, Justice Haruna Tsanami, who presided over the three-member panel that heard the application, said the ruling is reserved till a date to be communicated to the parties.