The Community Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Wednsday, December 11, held that the arrest and detention of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by the Nigerian government was not unlawful and arbitrary.
In its judgment, the court dismissed the suit by Kanu, alleging torture, assault, inhuman treatment and the violation of his property rights by the Federal Republic of Nigeria for lacking in merit.
Kanu, who is also the Director of Radio Biafra, registered under the regulatory laws of the United Kingdom and the United Nations, had demanded $800 million in compensation.
Honourable Justice Dupe Atoki, who read the judgment of the court, also held that Kanu’s arrest and detention were not unlawful and arbitrary as claimed by the plaintiff.
Delivering judgment on Wednesday, leading a three-man panel, the Judge held that Kanu had failed to prove the claims and dismissed the request for $800 million compensation.
While the Court acknowledged that Mr. Kanu had the legal capacity to approach the Court for the alleged violation of his human rights, it adjudged that without a mandate, he lacked the legal personality to represent the IPOB before the Court.
On the issue of proper parties before the Court, the names of the second and third defendants (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, and Director General, State Security Service) who are not signatories to the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, were struck out of the suit as improper parties, leaving the 1st defendant, the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the sole defendant in the case.
Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, filed the case before the Court on 3rd March 2016.
Kanu claimed that his rights to life, personal integrity, privacy, fair trial, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, personal liberty, freedom of association, private property, right to existence and right to self-determination were violated following his arrest and detention by agents of Nigeria.
He also alleged that he was a victim of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention and that his personal belongings were confiscated by the defendant through its agent.