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ECOWAS Court dismissed a suit by IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu

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The Economic Community of West African State, ECOWAS, Court of Justice of Abuja has rejected a case of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, against the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Kanu had dragged the Nigerian government to court for alleged torture, assault and inhuman treatment by security officers when he was arrested in 2015.

However, yesterday the ECOWAS regional court declared that Kanu could not prove his charges against the federal government.

In a ruling read by judge Dupe Atoki on Wednesday, the court ruled that Kanu had no reason to conclude that his arrest and detention were illegal and arbitrary, as claimed.

The group of three members of the Court also rejected Kanu’s request for monetary compensation.

Atoki said that although Kanu has the legal capacity to go to court to seek compensation for any violation of his human rights, however, he lacked the legal status to represent the IPOB before the court.

The court further struck out names of the second and third defendants, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and the Director-General of the Department of State Service, DSS, from the suit on the premise that they were not signatories to the ECOWAS Revised Treat, thus leaving only the Federal Republic of Nigeria as the sole defendant in the suit.

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Kanu had the suit marked ECW/CCJ/APP/06/16, which he filed before the Court on March 3, 2016, through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, 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 Nigerian security agents.

He also alleged that he was a victim of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture inhuman and degrading treatment while in detention, insisting that FG confiscated his personal belongings through its agent and demanded monetary compensation in the sum of $800 million US dollars.

However, FG’s lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Abubakar, prayed the court to dismiss the suit which he contended lacked merit saying the country was obliged to enforce the rule of law as stipulated in its Constitution, Treaties and Protocol that included defending the sovereignty of an undivided Nigeria.