Ill health: Court to rule on Kanu’s request for DSS DG to give oral evidence



A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, fixed March 16 to rule in a motion filed by leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu for the Director-General of the Department of States Services (DSS) to give oral evidence on his state of health.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo fixed the date after counsel for Kanu, Maxwell Opara, and lawyer to the DSS, Idowu Awo, presented their arguments for and against the motion on notice. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kanu, through his lawyer, Opara, had, in a fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/2021, sued the DG of DSS and the office as 1st and 2nd respondents respectively.

He also joined the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) as 3rd respondent in the suit dated and filed Dec. 13, 2021.Opara had alleged that the health of his client was deteriorating in the DSS custody, among others. At the resumed hearing, Opara filed a motion on notice dated Feb. 14 and brought pursuant to Section 116 of the Evidence Act.

He argued that there were conflicts in the counter affidavit filed by the DSS and that only oral evidence of the DG and Kanu could clarify the issue. “We want to call Kanu and director general of DSS to testify,” he said. The lawyer said other relevant processes had been filed to raise one question whether the court could transfer the matter to general cause list to enable it hear the matter.

He informed that though the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants had filed their counter affidavits, he had filed a reply on points of law. “We urge my lord to allow the parties to call oral evidence in this matter, because the applicant complained that a quack doctor from DSS has taken his blood sample for about 20 times without bringing forth any medical report,” he said.

He urged the court to grant the application. But Awo disagreed with Opara. He argued that while the judge had powers to call oral evidence of parties, Kanu’s lawyer had not shown how the doctors attending to his client were doing “quack” work.

He further argued that merely stating that the medical doctors his office assigned to attend to Kanu were quacks did not amount to conflict. “It is important to note that the applicant has not denied the above assertion by the respondents neither has he shown by material particulars that the listed medical practitioners are quacks.“The onus lies on the applicant via a further affidavit,” he said.

He prayed the court to discountenance the application. “We humbly urge that the application be thrown away and let us go into the substance of the case,” he said. In the counter affidavit dated Feb. 24, Awo argued that it was a common knowledge that Kanu was currently standing trial on a 15-count charge bothering on terrorism before a sister court.

He also argued that it was a common knowledge that Kanu was earlier granted bail by the trial court, presided over by Binta Nyako, but he jumped bail. He said he was re-arrested and re-arraigned before the judge.

Awo said that there was no court order in existence anywhere “which is to the effect that applicant (Kanu) should have unrestricted access to his personal physician while in the facility of the 1st and 2nd respondents. “If there is such order, applicant has the option to produce same in a further affidavit. ”He said that refusal to grant this application would not prejudice Kanu’s case in any way.

The AGF’s lawyer, Simon Enoch, also corroborated Awo’s submission. He said there was no material conflict in the affidavits of fact submitted before the court. He prayed the court to reject Opara’s plea.

Justice, Taiwo adjourned the ruling until March 16.(NAN)


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