Why judge dismissed Nnamdi Kanu’s fundamental rights suit

An Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

On Friday, Justice Taiwo Taiwo dismissed the suit for lacking merit after listening to submissions and arguments from parties in the suit.

On December 13, 2021, Mr Kanu in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/2021 had sued the Director-General (DG) of DSS and the DSS, seeking the enforcement of his fundamental rights as enshrined under the constitution.

What happened in court

Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Maxwell Opara had alleged that his client’s health was deteriorating in the custody of  DSS as unqualified medical personnel were assigned to attend to him.

  • In response, Idowu Awo, the DSS’ lawyer who disagreed with Kanu’s lawyer contended that they had not proved how the doctors attending to him were quacks.
  • He noted that merely stating that the medical doctors assigned to attend to Kanu were quacks did not amount to conflict.
  • He argued that Mr Opara had not shown any material evidence to prove that the listed medical practitioners were quacks.
  • He, therefore, prayed the court to discountenance the application.
  • Simon Enoch, the AGF’s lawyer who agreed with the submission of the DSS lawyer, also prayed the court to reject Opara’s application.
  • Justice Taiwo in his ruling held that Mr Kanu had not placed sufficient evidence before the court that DSS infringed on his fundamental rights as there is no proof of torture.”
  • Speaking on Kanu’s right to practice religion, the judge said that while Mr Kanu had the constitutional right to practice his religion in custody, he agreed with the position of the respondent (DSS) that a suspect in custody cannot be allowed to practise his religion in such a way that would disturb the peace of other suspects in custody.
  • The judge said, “The applicant fails to lead evidence by calling a medical practitioner to convince the court that based on the medical report, the treatment given to Kanu is inadequate.”
  • The judge, therefore, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and substance.

What you should know

  • On March 16, the judge dismissed a motion filed by Mr  Opara which asked the court to summon the DG of DSS and Kanu to give evidence in the matter.
  • However, Justice Taiwo held that fundamental rights cases are special cases (sui generis) in which modes of commencement are affidavit evidence as prescribed under Order 2, Rule 2 of the Fundamental Human Right Enforcement Procedure Rules, 2009.

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