In a recent legal development, seven supporters of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), followers of their leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, have been discharged by the court, marking a significant victory for the pro-Biafran group. The court not only released them but also awarded a compensatory sum of N130 million in damages in their favor.
The decision, rendered by Justice M.O. Olajuwon of the Federal High Court in Abuja, specifically involved Maria Ezediaro. Kanu’s legal representative, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, revealed that Ezediaro had been unlawfully detained in various security agencies’ facilities. The charges against her were dismissed, and she was absolved of all criminal allegations.
According to Ejiofor, Ezediaro was arrested on February 26, 2021, when she visited the State CID, Owerri, Imo State Command. Subsequently, she was transferred to the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team detention facility in Abuja, where she faced inhumane treatment and torture. However, the court granted her bail on April 21, 2022, and on October 10, 2023, Justice Olajuwon struck out the terrorism charges against her.
Another set of individuals, including the Pastor of the Holy Trinity Sabbath Church, Cletus Nwachukwu Egole, his wife Ifeyinwa Egole, Prophet Michael Uba, Ugochukwu Samuel, and Raphael Idang, were also discharged by Justice V.S. Gaba of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja. The court not only released them but awarded N100 million in compensatory damages against the police.
These individuals had been arrested and paraded by the Imo State Command of the Nigeria Police on March 21, 2021, and later transferred to the IGP Intelligence Response Team detention facility in Abuja. After several adjournments, the FCT High Court, on September 19, 2023, declared their arrest and detention illegal and unconstitutional, directing their unconditional release within three days and awarding N100 million in damages.
Additionally, Justice Z.B. Abubakar of the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the release of Ngozichukwu Ada-Dav and awarded N30 million in compensatory damages. Ada-Dav had been arrested in June 2021 and was unlawfully detained until September 15, 2021. The court declared her arrest and detention illegal and unconstitutional, issuing a perpetual injunction against the Nigeria Police, the Inspector General of Police, and their agents. Compensation of N30 million was also awarded.
These legal victories for supporters of Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra come as the group awaits the Supreme Court’s judgment on Kanu’s case, scheduled to be delivered on December 15, 2023.