The Federal government and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, have applied for extension of time to file their defense against the N5 billion Fundamental Rights suit filed by the Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, at the High Court of Abia State.
Kanu had in August, through his lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, approached the Abia High Court to enforce his fundamental rights, stemming from the military invasion of his Umuahia home in 2017 and his extraordinary rendition from Kenya in June 2021.
When the matter last came up for hearing on 7th October, it turned out that the case file had not be assigned from the vacation court where it was last heard on 21st September when neither the Federal Government, nor the Attorney General made an appearance.
According to Kanu’s lawyer, the Respondents which included the Federal Government and the AGF were served on 10th September, 2021.
“That means that they have five days from the date of service to reply to the suit in accordance with the Fundamental Rights Enforcement procedures. Those five days expired on 15th September, 2021”, he added.
Meanwhile, the application for extension of time which was filed on 6th October by the office of the Attorney General is being opposed by Barrister Ejimakor.
A perusal of the application shows that they are pleading for the discretion of the court to accept their defense despite its lateness.
In opposing the application, Barrister Ejimakor cited statutory and judicial authorities that disallowed inordinate delays in hearing cases of fundamental rights, especially in situations where the applicant is in detention.
Ejimakor argued further that “It beggars belief that it took the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation with presumably thousands of Lawyers almost one month after being served a fundamental rights suit to prepare a counter affidavit”.
The case was late last week assigned for hearing to Abia High Court 1, which is presided over by the Chief Judge of the State.
Our checks revealed that the next hearing date is yet to be set.
A source at the court told our correspondent that the assignment of the case to the Chief Judge of the State “demonstrates that the High Court considers the case to be of high priority and importance.”
Kanu, among other reliefs, seeks his unconditional release from detention and stoppage of his prosecution..