The court of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, sitting in Abuja, has rejected an application filed by the federal government seeking to strike out a suit filed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu had instituted a suit at the ECOWAS court asking for an order to compel the Nigerian government to release him unconditionally and also pay him $800 million in damages for violating his fundamental human rights.
In its application, the federal government had asked the court to dismiss the case because it is already before a Federal High Court and the Appeal court and as such, it constitutes an abuse of court process.
But the Presiding judge, Micah Wright-Williams, in his ruling, dismissed the application for lacking in merit.
Justice Wright-Williams held that the ECOWAS court has the jurisdiction to hear cases of infringement of human rights.
Recall that Kanu is accused, along with three others, Benjamin Madubugwu, James Nwawuisi and David Nwawuisi, of treason.
On November 8, 2016, the trio were re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, publication of defamatory matter and illegal possession of firearms.
They were alleged to have committed the offences in Nigeria and London between 2014 and 2015 but the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Kanu has been in custody since he was arrested on October 14, 2015, in the Abuja international airport, on his arrival from the United Kingdom where he was based.