In a fresh affidavit filed before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, the Federal government maintained that Kanu posed a flight risk, insisting he would escape from the country as soon as he was freed from detention.
Arguing the application yesterday, an Assistant State Counsel in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. David Kaswe, told the court that the case against Kanu bordered on national security. Kaswe argued that Kanu’s fundamental rights should not supercede the interest of the nation.
Relying on the decided case law in Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Asari Dokubo, the federal government argued that once a case touched on national security, the right of the individual affected took secondary place.
“It is important to appreciate the gamut of depositions in our application. The Respondent is a flight risk person and one of the ground of our application is that this matter touches on national security of the state.
“We further rely on the case of FRN Vs Dokubo, where the Supreme Court held that where national security is threatened or when there is likelihood of it being threatened, human rights take secondary place.
“Once there is a threat to national security, human rights of any individual can be suspended until such threat is taken care of.
“Once security of the nation is in jeopardy, the individual right may not even exist,” government’s lawyer argued.
He added that intelligence report in government’s possession indicates that releasing the IPOB leader from detention would worsen the security situation in the South East.
However, Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, urged the appellate court to dismiss FG’s application which he said was tantamount to seeking the stay of the liberty of a citizen.
Ozekhome argued that contrary to FG’s position, Kanu’s release from detention would guarantee peace in both the South East and the country
He said: “In fact, my lords, on the contrary, the release of Kanu will actually bring peace and tranquility to the South East in particular and the nation in general
“This was demonstrated after the judgement of this court that ordered the release of the Respondent. Immediately the judgement was delivered, there was so much joy and happiness in the entire South East. There was so much jubilation and merriment.”
He argued that Dokubo’s case was different from that of Kanu, according to him, while Dokubo applied to be granted bail, pending the determination of the charge against him, in Kanu’s case, the appellate court has already terminated his trial and ordered his release.
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