The three-man justices of the Court of Appeal who gave a ruling that discharged and acquitted the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu have been transferred from their various divisions.
The three appellate court justices were transferred four days after they delivered the judgment on Kanu, Vanguard reports.
It was learnt that while the presiding judge, Justice Jummai Hanatu Sankey, who was in the Gombe Division of the court was transferred to Awka Division, Justice Oludotun Adetope-Okojie who delivered the lead judgment, was moved to Owerri and Justice Ebiowei Tobi was transferred to Gombe Division.
The transfer of the justices is reportedly contained in a memo dated October 17, which was signed by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem.
The memo stressed that the new posting for the justices was with immediate effect as they were expected to report to their new stations by October 21.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will on Monday (today) hear the appeal filed by the Nigerian government to set aside the appeal court judgment that acquitted and discharged Kanu.
The appellate court had in a unanimous judgment by the three-man panel of justices, accused the Nigerian government of flagrantly violating all known laws with the way it extraordinarily rendition Kanu from Kenya for the continuation of his trial on treasonable felony.
The three-man panel of justices held that such extraordinary rendition, without adherence to due process of the law, was a gross violation of all international conventions, treaties, protocols and guidelines that Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as a breach of the Appellant’s fundamental human rights.
The appellate court further held that the government failed to refute the allegation that the IPOB leader was in Kenya and that he was abducted and brought back to the country without any extradition processes.
On that ground, the appellate court held that the government was “ominously silent on the issue”, which it described as very pivotal in determining whether the trial court would still have the jurisdiction to continue with the criminal proceeding before it.
The appellate court judges held that the Nigerian government’s action tainted the entire proceeding it initiated against Kanu and amounted to “an abuse of criminal prosecution in general.”
The three-man judges, therefore, held thus: “The court will never shy away from calling the Executive to order when it tilts towards Executive recklessness.”
It also accused the government of engaging in “serious abuse of power.”
But the Nigerian government in a notice of appeal filed before the Supreme Court is asking the apex court to stay the execution of the appellate court judgment.
The government is contending that the appellate court panel erred in law and occasioned a miscarriage of justice when it relied on the manner Kanu was rendition from Kenya to Nigeria after he jumped bail in 2017.
It further insisted that the appeal court acted in error by striking out the charge against the IPOB leader on the premise that the trial judge no longer had the jurisdiction to handle the matter.
The government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, is asking the Supreme Court to, in the interim; suspend the execution of the Court of Appeal verdict, pending the hearing and determination of its appeal.