Nnamdi Kanu Lacks Mandate to Represent IPOB, Says ECOWAS Court

The ECOWAS court of justice sitting in Abuja Wednesday held that the leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, failed to prove his allegations against Nigerian government that he was tortured, assaulted and subjected to inhuman treatment by security operatives when he was arrested in 2015.

The court, presided by Justice Dupe Atoki, then dismissed the suit, saying it had no reason to conclude that his arrest and detention were unlawful and arbitrary as claimed. The three-member panel of the court that also has Justices Edward Amoako Asante and Keikura Bangura, also dismissed Kanu’s request for monetary compensation.

The court also held that without IPOB’s mandate, Kanu lacked the legal personality to represent the organisation before the Court.

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Kanu filed suit No ECW/CCJ/APP/06/16 before the court on March 3, 2016, through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, claiming 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.

But Nigerian government’s lawyer, Mr. Abdullahi Abubakar, asked the court to dismiss the suit which he said lacked merit. He said Kanu and IPOB were engaged in secessionist activities capable of leading to war.  This, he said, necessitated that the plaintiff be investigated and arrested according to the laws of the land.

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