Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has filed a lawsuit against the Department of State Services (DSS) over what he described as the violation of his fundamental human rights.
Maxwell Opara, one of Kanu’s lawyers, announced this at a press conference on Monday.
According to Opara, the suit is marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/21, and was filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja. The DSS, its Director-General, Yusuf Bichi; and the Attorney-General of the federation are listed as respondents.
The lawyer alleged that “a medical doctor engaged by the DSS has extracted Nnamdi Kanu’s blood samples over 21 times”.
The IPOB leader, Opara claimed, is also battling with hunger as he is being starved of food, while had not been allowed to change his clothes.
He said: “We visited Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and he told us about the conditions to which he is being subjected. He has not been allowed to change his clothes, while he’s also being starved. He also told us that a Doctor came to take his blood samples for 21 times for test but was not told what test they want to conduct on him. We have therefore filed a fundamental human rights enforcement suit in that regard.”
Emmanuel, Kanu’s younger brother, in an affidavit supporting the suit, stated that “the respondents have deprived the applicant access to facility and material to practise his faith and ultimately prevented the applicant from praying and/or practising his faith, and the aforesaid constitute a breach of the applicant’s right to practise his religion”.
“The respondents prevented the applicant from having access to a medical practitioner and legal practitioner of his choice,” the affidavit reads.
“The respondent subjected the applicant to solitary confinement which is a form of mental and physical torture and as such subjects the applicant to inhuman and degrading treatment and in turn constitutes a violation of Section 34(1)(a) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.
“The Applicant’s right not to be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment and torture/humiliation is enshrined in Section 34(1)(a) Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and Article 5 of the African Charter on Human and People Rights (Ratification and enforcement) Act Cap A9 Vol. 1 LFN.
“Order (ii) Rule (i) of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure) Rules 209 empowers any person who alleges that any of the fundamental rights to which he is entitled to is being, has been, or is likely to be infringed upon to apply to the court for a redress.
“The respondents have no justification to have subjected the applicant to indignity, humiliation, mental torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.”
Kanu is, among other things, seeking “an order directing the respondents to immediately allow the applicant access to facility and material for the practice of his religion”.
He is also asking for an order “directing the respondents to immediately allow the applicant to appoint an independent medical practitioner of his choice from a certified government hospital to review the applicant’s medical files”.
Also, the IPOB leader is asking to court to order that he has access to “a medical practitioner of his choice and a legal practitioner of his choice”, as well as that he be “immediately removed” from solitary confinement.
Kanu, who jumped bail in 2017, was re-arrested and subsequently repatriated to Nigeria from an undisclosed location on 27 June “through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services”, according to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on 29 June and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS.
The trial was stalled after the DSS failed to produce Kanu in court on 26 July, the adjourned date for hearing.
Justice Binta Nyako, the trial judge, adjourned the case till October 21, 2021, when judges were expected to have resumed their annual vacation.
The Federal Government had slammed an amended seven-count charge against Kanu.
Kanu was eventually produced in court on 21 October and pleaded “not guilty” to an amended seven-charge bordering on treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms among others filed against him by the Federal Government.