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Court dismisses Nnamdi Kanu’s suit against DSS.

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Justice James Omotosho, in a judgment, held that Kanu’s suit lacked merit and ought to be dismissed.

In the suit, the IPOB leader alleged that the DSS subjected them to different inhuman treatments, including denying him his right to wear any clothes of his choice, like the Igbo traditional attire called “Isi-Agu,” while in their facility or any time he appeared in court for his trial.

He alleged that the security outfit, while allowing other inmates in their custody the freedom to choose and wear any clothes of their choice, he was restricted to wearing only a single cloth.

The applicant also accused the DSS of subjecting him to torture, breaching his right to dignity. Therefore, he sought an order directing the respondents to allow him to wear any clothing of his choice while in the facility or when appearing in public, among other reliefs.

But in a counter affidavit filed by the DSS and its DG, they urged the court to dismiss Kanu’s claim. They said that their operatives had not and had never tortured Kanu either physically or mentally while in their custody.

According to the DSS, the applicant (Kanu) is kept in their facility where every other suspect is kept. They said it was untrue that other suspects were allowed to wear any clothes they chose, including Hausa and Yoruba traditional wear.

They said the facility was not a recreational centre or traditional festival where Kanu and other suspects could adore themselves in their respective traditional attires. They argued that there is a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) on dress code by persons in their facilities.

“That in line with global best practices, persons in the 1st and 2nd respondents’ facility are allowed to wear only plain clothes which do not bear symbols, writings, colours and insignias that are offensive to any religion, ethnic group or even the Nigeria state in general,” they said.

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They accused Kanu’s family of bringing traditional attires and other clothing with Biafra insignias and pair of red shoes decorated with shining beads for him to wear in custody and attend court for his trial.

According to DSS, the clothes have colours of the non-existing Biafra Republic, which is the subject matter of the applicant’s criminal trial. They said the Isi-Agu attire, popularly called chieftaincy attire, was not suitable for persons in detention facilities and was against its SOP.

They also argued that Justice Binta Nyako, where Kanu is currently standing trial, had directed that Kanu should be allowed to wear any plain clothing of his choice and that anything contrary would contravene the court’s directive.

The DSS said they never breached his right to human dignity, as alleged by the IPOB leader. Delivering the judgment, Justice Omotosho held that proper human dignity is contained in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution.

He said it was clear that a right to human dignity related to the right against torture, and inhuman treatment, among others. Based on the evidence before the court, the judge held that Kanu’s case did not relate to torture or forced labour as he was never tortured while in custody.

He said a right to dignity was not a right to change clothes as an inmate in prison.

“The applicant cannot come to court to seek rights which are not in the constitution,” he said. Besides, Justice Omotosho held that Kanu failed to provide the photographs and names of inmates who were allowed to wear different attires while in custody.

He said the onus was on him to prove his case, but the applicant merely relied on bare facts without any evidence. He described the IPOB leader’s allegations as “a hypothesis without concrete evidence.”

The judge, consequently, dismissed the case for lacking merit. NAN reports that a retired court judge, Justice Taiwo, had dismissed a similar suit from Kanu in 2022.

Justice Taiwo held that Kanu had not provided sufficient evidence that the security outfit infringed upon his fundamental rights “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.”.

SOURCE.


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