The Court of Appeal in Abuja on Friday has granted the stay of execution of a judgment discharging the leader of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, of terrorism charges.
The Federal Government, had claimed that Kanu was discharged, but not acquitted and approached the court to stay the execution of release order.
The Appeal Court stopped the execution of its own judgment which faulted the rendition of Kanu from Kenya to Nigeria and set aside the terrorism charges against him.
A three-member panel of justices presided by Justice Haruna Tsamani on Friday held that it would be proper to await the appeal before the Supreme Court.
The appellate court directed that the stay of execution be forwarded to the apex court within seven days for expeditious hearing.
The federal government had filed an appeal before the Supreme Court and a stay of execution following the judgment of the appellate court on Thursday, October 13, which struck out the remaining seven-count charges preferred against Kanu, citing a violation of international law on his extraordinary rendition from Kenya, and ordered his discharge from terrorism and treasonable felony charges.
However, the federal government, through its counsel, David Kaswe, while arguing the application, informed the Court of Appeal that Kanu had earlier demonstrated to be a flight risk when he jumped bail granted to him in 2017.
He further contended it was in the interest of peace in the South-East and the country to hold Kanu pending the determination of the appeal before the Supreme Court.
However, the lead counsel to Kanu, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), asked the appellate court to dismiss the submissions, maintaining that his client miraculously escaped with his life in September 2017 after soldiers of the Operation Python Dance attacked his residence at Afaraukwu-Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia State, killing 28 persons.
He maintained that holding Kanu beyond the date of the order discharging him would be unlawful and a breach of his fundamental rights to liberty, adding that his release would help restore peace to the country.