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Kanu: Court Dismisses Fundamental Rights Suit Against DSS

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed the fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against the Department of States Services (DSS).

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a judgment, dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and substance.

Kanu,  through his lawyer, Maxwell Opara, had, in a fundamental rights enforcement suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/1585/2021, sued the Director-General (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 on Dec. 13, 2021.

Kanu had alleged that his health was deteriorating in the DSS custody, while also alleging that the medical personnel assigned to attend to him by the DSS were unqualified, among others.

But the DSS, through its counsel, Idowu Awo, disagreed with Opara. He argued that Kanu’s lawyer had not shown how the doctors attending to his client were doing “quack” work.

Ayo argued that merely stating that the medical doctors the DSS office assigned to attend to Kanu were quacks did not amount to conflict, adding that Opara had not shown any material evidence to prove that the listed medical practitioners were quacks.

He prayed the court to discountenance the application.

The AGF’s lawyer, Simon Enoch, also corroborated Awo’s submission, praying the court to reject Opara’s application.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Taiwo held that Kanu had not provided sufficient evidence that his fundamental rights were infringed upon by the security outfit “as there is no proof of torture before the court.”

On Kanu’s right to practise his religion, the judge said that while the applicant (Kanu) had the constitutional right to practice his religion in custody, he agreed with the position of the respondent (DSS) that a suspect in custody cannot be allowed to practise his religion in such a way that would disturb the peace of other suspects in custody.

On the allegation that the IPOB leader was receiving inadequate treatments from DSS doctors whom he had referred to as quacks, Taiwo said that “the applicants fail to lead evidence by calling a medical practitioner to convince the court that based on the medical report, the treatment giving to Kanu is inadequate.”

Consequently, the judge dismissed the suit for lacking in merit and substance.

Reacting shortly after the ruling, Oprara, said the judgment would be appealed.

He said the motion he filed praying the court for the DG of DSS and Kanu to give oral evidence in court to ascertain the fact of the matter was rejected by the judge.

Justice Taiwo had, on March 16, dismissed the motion filed by Opara, asking the court to summon the DG of DSS and Kanu to give evidence.

Taiwo, in the ruling, held that fundamental rights cases are special cases (sui generis) which mode of commencement is affidavit evidence as prescribed under Order 2, Rule 2 of the Fundamental Human Right Enforcement Procedure Rules, 2009.

Justice Taiwo said that though there were various modes of commencement of the action, including fundamental rights cases, he said Kanu (applicant) chose to commence his “under the Fundamental Right Enforcement Procedure Rules that stipulate affidavit evidence.”

He ruled that after carefully perusing all the affidavits of the applicant and the respondents before him, he was of the view that there were no irreconcilable conflicts in the affidavits.

The judge, therefore, declined to grant Kanu’s application and was accordingly  dismissed.

Manuels Effe


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