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Court Declines IPOB’s Request to Order Army to Produce Kanu


The proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) failed in its bid to compel the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
In a ruling, Friday, a Fderal High Court in Abuja, declined to order Buratai to produce Kanu.
Justice Binta Nyako, the trial Judge, held that no evidence was placed before the court to prove that Kanu was in Army custody, adding that Kanu’s counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who filed the application failed to convince the court that Kanu was seen with soldiers at any time.She said: “T doctrine of last seen”, which the applicant relied upon, eventhough applicable in murder cases, has no statutory backing.
Besides, the Judge noted that Kanu was listed in the suit as the main applicant.
Justice Nyako said she was surprised that someone that was said to be missing was the one seeking reliefs from the court, adding that the lawyers ought not to have commenced the action “in the name of applicant”.
She further held that affidavits Ejiofor’s team filed before the court contained criminal allegations against the Nigerian Army that must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
“Has the applicant placed enough evidence to show that the respondent was the last to see the applicant? Was there any evidence that he was last seen with even one soldier? The onus of proof will not shift from the applicant to the respondent except the applicant is able to prove that he was last seen by the respondent. This they have failed to do.
“This application fails and it is hereby dismissed. Be ready for your case”, the Judge held
A team of lawyers representing the IPOB leader, had prayed the court to compel Buratai to produce their client, either dead or alive.
The lawyers, led by Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told the court that they have not seen or heard from their client since September 14, 2017, when the Nigerian Army invaded his house “on a murderous raid, where life and mortar bullets were fired on unarmed and defenceless populace, leaving 28 persons dead and abducting many”.
However, in a counter-affidavit he filed in opposition to the suit, Buratai told the court that Kanu was never in custody of the Nigeria Army.
He maintained that contrary to claims in the suit, soldiers who were deployed to the South-East for ‘Operation Python Dance II, did not have any contact whatsoever with Kanu on September 12 or 14, or anytime thereafter as alleged.
The Chief of Army Staff told the court that the Nigerian Army did not at any time arrest or took Kanu into custody within the period the military operation lasted, even as he denied allegation that soldiers invaded the IPOB leader’s house in Afara-Ukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State.
A colonel attached to the Chief of Army’s office in the Army Headquarters, Abuja, Col. A.A Yusuf, who deposed to the counter-affidavit on behalf of Buratai, said the alleged invasion of Kanu’s house was totally false.
The Army boss told the court that his men only chased a truck he said was laden with arms and explosives of different kinds, into a compound he said was later discovered to belong to Kanu and his father.

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