Kanu may die in DSS custody – Lawyer

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Mike Ozekhome, Senior counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, has told the Supreme Court his fear that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) may die in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Ozekhome spoke, yesterday, during hearing of Kanu’s case. He told the apex court that the IPOB leader was very sick and required surgery. He prayed the court to rule in favour of Kanu’s transfer from DSS custody to Kuje correctional centre, to enable him begin treatment.

“My Lords, Nnamdi Kanu is sick. He has been approved for surgery but they have refused to release him for treatment. We are pleading for him to be transferred from DSS custody to Kuje correctional centre, so that he can begin treatment like others. He’s getting really sick; I’m scared he may die in the custody of DSS. Dead bodies are not prosecuted,” Ozekhome said.

Moved by Ozekhome’s plea, the Presiding Justice, John Inyang Okoro, said Kanu would not die and called for the court’s diary. He said: “It would amount to an exercise in futility if any of the application is taken because there is no time to write the ruling and deliver it in three months time, particularly, as the court would proceed on vacation soon.

The court, consequently, fixed September 14, 2023 for definite hearing of the appeal filed by the Federal Government, challenging Kanu’s request for release.

Kanu was taken into custody from Kenya in November 2021. Hearing of the main appeal, scheduled for yesterday, could not go on as planned, as the Federal Government insisted it wanted to file its response to an objection raised by Ozekhome in his brief of argument.

Recall that the apex court had, at the last adjournment, April 27, 2023, given the Federal Government six days to file all its processes and serve the same on Kanu.

When the court reconvened, yesterday, Tijani Gazali, who stood for the Federal Government, told the court that he needed time to respond to the objection raised by Ozekhome, which was served on him on Wednesday.

In his reply, Ozekhome said the appellant could respond orally to the objection and allow the main appeal to be heard.