The Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed July 20 for judgment in a suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, against the Department of State Services, DSS, seeking an order to allow him unhindered access to his medical doctor.
Justice Binta Nyako fixed the date after Kanu’s counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and lawyer to the DSS, A.M. Danlami, adopted their processes and presented their arguments for and against the suit.
Credible News reports that Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by Ozekhome, had sued the DSS and its Director General as 1st and 2nd respondents in the matter.
Kanu, in the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, prayed the court for permission to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the DSS to allow him have unhindered access to his medical doctor, among others.
The court had, on Feb. 1, granted Kanu, the permission to apply for an order of mandamus he sought after an ex-parte motion moved by Ozekhome to the effect.
But in a preliminary objection filed by the DSS, the security outfit urged the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
It argued that there was a subsisting judgement of a sister court delivered by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, rtd., on June 3, 2022 in suit number: FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/2021 between Kanu and DG of DSS and two others wherein the court dealt substantially with the issue of allowing the IPOB leader access to his personal physician.
It said the instant suit was similar to the earlier one and that Kanu had filed an appeal against the judgment.
Upon resumed hearing, Ozekhome told the court that the motion dated Feb. 2, was served on the respondents Feb. 3, seeking for an order of mandamus against the respondents to allow the IPOB leader unfettered access to his doctor in accordance with the earlier order of Justice Nyako, which he alleged had been flouted by the DSS.
The senior lawyer argued that the act was against Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act.
He said 10 exhibits were attached to the affidavit and two of the exhibits detailed Kanu’s medical report before he was renditioned on June 27, 2021 and medical report of his present health status.
Ozekhome said their application was that an independent doctor should be allowed to attend to him in the presence of the security operatives.
He further argued that a defendant, based on the provisions of the law, should stand his trial and not to be on wheelchair while being prosecuted.
“We asked if we could see his medical report and they are refusing and if he dies, this will cause national commotion”, he said.
Ozekhome, who said that a further affidavit was also filed in the suit, said two exhibits were attached to it.
The senior lawyer added that one of the exhibits is a certified true copy of the judgment of Federal High Court, Umuahia.
“In the judgment, the court awarded the sum of N500 million damages against the respondents for illegal rendition of the defendant from Kenya to Nigeria”, he stated.
Ozekhome said that a Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja had exonerated him in a judgment when it dismissed the remaining seven counts after Justice Nyako struck out eight counts from the 15-count charge earlier preferred against him
“What will they lose to allow an independent doctor to examine him in their presence. We rely on all the processes to humbly request you to grant our omnibus prayers”, he added.
He dismissed allegations that Kanu jumped bail on April 25, 2017 after the court granted him bail.
The lawyer, who argued that Kanu, rather, escaped a military invasion at his residence, said as soon as he got to Israel, he deposed to an affidavit to the effect.
Contrary to the DSS’ argument that the matter was similar to the earlier one decided by retired Justice Taiwo, Ozekhome argued that the claims, the subject matters and the parties in the two matters were different.
“We filed a counter of five paragraphs. In the instant case, there are two respondents, but in the suit they referred to, there were three respondents.
“So on the issue of parties, they failed. On subject matter, this suit is seeking an order of judicial review by way of mandamus but in the other suit, it was filed for the enforcement of his fundamental rights and not judicial reviews.
“The former suit sought 11 reliefs but ours has two reliefs”, the senior lawyer added.
He argued that the law allowed that an aggrieved party could filed more than one case where facts of his case disclose multiple cause of actions.
Danlami urged the court to dismiss Kanu’s plea for lack of jurisdiction.
The lawyer said in their counter affidavit with four exhibits, one of the exhibit showed that Kanu was physically and clinically sound.
“We urge my lord to dismiss this suit in the interest of justice and national interest”, he added.
The judge adjourned the matter until July 20 for judgment.