…Release Nnamdi Kanu, Anglican Bishops plead
…Stop using Kanu’s name as political bargaining chip for election-IPOB
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Chidi Nkwopara & Chimaobi Nwaiwu
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, granted the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, the permission to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Department of State Services, DSS, to allow him have unhindered access to his medical doctor.
Meantime, Bishops of the Ecclesiastical Province of Owerri, Anglican Communion, yesterday, reiterated their earlier call for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, in full compliance with the judgments of competent courts in Nigeria.
This was part of a seven-point communique issued at the end of their Episcopal Retreat in Owerri and signed by the Archbishop of Owerri Province, Most Rev Dr. David O. C. Onuoha.
This is even as the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB,yesterday warned politicians in Nigeria to stop using the name of its leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, as a political bargaining chip for the Nigerian election.
Court grants Kanu’s request for access to doctor
Trial Justice Binta Nyako gave the ruling after she heard an ex-parte application the embattled IPOB leader filed through his team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
While adjourning the matter till February 21, the court, directed Kanu’s legal team to serve all the relevant processes on both the DSS and its Director General, who were cited as 1st and 2nd Respondents in the matter.
Kanu, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, said he would need his doctors to conduct an independent examination to ascertain his state of health.
Specifically, he is praying to the court for an order, granting him leave to, “apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to allow the Applicant unhindered access to his medical doctors to enable them to conduct an independent examination of his present deteriorating health condition, as earlier ordered by the Federal High Court, Abuja on the 21st day of October 2021; and as required by the express provisions of section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017”.
As well as, “an order of this Honourable Court granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to avail the Applicant with all his medical records, from the 29th day of June 2021, till date”.
Kanu listed some of the records he would require from the DSS, including; his admission records, medical and clinical notes, nursing notes, observation charts and documentation during treatment or stay-in-hospital, laboratory test results, pharmaceutical records, radiological scans, images and reports, blood transfusion records, physiotherapy, and rehabilitative treatment records, clinical findings, as well as diagnosis and treatment prescribed records.
On grounds upon which he applied, Kanu noted that the trial Justice Nyako had on October 21, 2021, ordered that he should be allowed access to three persons of his choice, including his medical doctors.
Kanu argued that section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, provided that a person arrested, detained, or undergoing custodial investigation, shall have the right to demand a physical and psychological examination by an independent and competent doctor of his own choice after interrogation, which shall be conducted outside the influence of the Police or security forces.
“The Respondents have repeatedly denied the Applicant access to medical doctors of his choice to independently examine him, contrary to the order of the court made on the 21st October 2021; and the express provisions of Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017”, he added.
In a verifying affidavit that was deposed to by one Chimmuanya Emenari, Kanu told the court that before the time he was abducted in Kenya, and extra-ordinarily rendered back to Nigeria, he visited a Specialist Cardiologist every week for medical examination and treatment.
“Medical Reports containing the medical history of the Applicant as was issued by medical specialists managing the Applicant before his abduction in Kenya and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria are hereby attached and variously marked as Exhibits MNK 3, MNK 4, and MNK 5.
“That although the Applicant has been discharged by the appellate court and his further detention prohibited, the Applicant is still being held in solitary confinement in the custody of the Respondents, where he is exposed to daily mental and psychological torture and degradation of his human person”.
Kanu alleged that upon his “abduction” in Kenya, he was subjected to various forms of brutal torture and inhuman treatment and degradation, all of which worsened his health condition, under which he suffered a mild cardiac arrest before he was “smuggled back into Nigeria”.
Release Nnamdi Kanu, Anglican Bishops plead
The Bishops said they are at a loss as to why repeated appeals from local and international bodies, for Kanu’s release, have fallen on deaf ears.
Their words: “We hereby, strongly renew our call on the Federal Government, to revisit the protracted case of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and reconsider its position on the matter, for the collective interest of Nigeria, especially the Igbo nation.
“While imploring the Federal Government to look in the direction of deploying political strategies and dialogue in resolving this lingering issue, we further hold that releasing Kanu now will be a good gesture towards the search for peace in Igboland, as well as allow him to enjoy his fundamental right of freedom and access to health care, as the Court of Appeal has ordered.”
Taking a hard look at the forthcoming general elections, the Bishops reminded Nigerians that the nation has witnessed a series of elections since independence, but quickly added that they were nothing ‘short of a harvest of shame, disgrace, ignominy, and disappointment, to the ordinary Nigerian, whose hope for a better, secure and promising nation, has remained a mirage.
Their words: “The respective actors in the electioneering processes have continued to indulge in roles that undermine and sabotage the efforts of Nigerians to have a better nation through valid elections.
“The Bishops, therefore, hold that the 2023 general elections, present us all with a golden opportunity to birth a new Nigeria, as it will determine our collective destiny, especially for the poor Nigerian young school leavers who have neither a Senator nor a Minister of the Federal Republic to assure him of job opportunities and is afraid of being rendered peripatetic”.
While acknowledging the resolve of the various security agencies towards ensuring the success of the 2023 elections, the clerics however warned that the roles of the bad eggs in the respective security agencies would continue to take Nigerians, including the agencies, to where we are praying not to go back to.
‘Stop using Nnamdi Kanu’s name as political bargaining chip for election’
The pro-Biafra group described the Nigerian election and its processes as sham exercises that do not worth its attention and it has nothing to do with it, warning politicians, particularly, those of Igbo extraction to halt further insult against IPoB.
IPoB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful wondered why some Igbo politicians including a particular one from Anambra State will say that their presidential candidate will release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB Mazi Nnamdi Kanu if he wins the forthcoming presidential election.
IPoB’s statement read: “The attention of the global movement and family of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, led by Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukwu Kanu, has been drawn to the statement credited to officials of the PDP and a particular one from Anambra State to the effect that their presidential candidate will release the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, if he wins the forthcoming presidential election slated for 25th of February 2023.
“IPoB leadership wishes to state that its leader should on no account be used as a political bargaining chip for the Nigerian election. Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been judicially declared an innocent man and that follows that he must be released from his continued illegal detention and torture by this present government of APC.
“We do not expect anything in the contrary. The judgment of the Court of Appeal must be implemented. Moreover, the leadership of IPoB wants to inform the PDP that in as much as we have no issue with their statement that justifies the decision of the Court, their focus should be to demand that the Nigerian government obey the judgment of their court.
“Our demand has and will remain consistent irrespective of which person or party that is occupying Aso Rock, the Nigerian seat of power. Our self-determination agitation is our inalienable right and that is the reason we have demanded a referendum which is a democratic process to enable Biafrans to determine their fate and decide where they wish to belong, whether in Nigeria or a free and sovereign Biafran Nation.”
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