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Court dismisses Nnamdi Kanu’s lawsuit against DSS

Jul 13, 2023 #National News, #News

A fundamental rights enforcement lawsuit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra against the Department of State Services, has been dismissed by a federal high court. 

Kanu had sued the Director General of DSS, DSS, and the Attorney-General of the Federation as 1st to 3rd respondents respectively, alleging that they subjected him 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 claimed that while other inmates in DSS custody are allowed to choose and wear any clothes of their choice, he was restricted to wearing only a single clothing.

Kanu who accused the DSS of subjecting him to torture, breaching his right to dignity, among others, sought for an order directing the respondents to allow him to put on any clothing of his choice while in the facility or when appearing in public, among other reliefs.

The DSS however denied the allegation and asked the court to deny Kanu the reliefs he sought for. 

They stated that the IPOB leader was never tortured either physically or mentally while in their custody, adding that he was kept where other suspects are held. 

The DSS which denied Kanu’s claim of other suspects being allowed to wear whatever they want, noted that their facility is not a recreational centre or traditional festival where Kanu and other suspects would be allowed to adore themselves in their respective traditional attires. According to the agency, there is a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) on dress code by persons in their facilities.

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 also to attend court for his trial. The DSS also noted that Justice Binta Nyako who is presiding over Kanu’s treason trial, directed that he should be allowed to wear any plain clothing of his choice and that anything contrary would contravene the court’s directive.

Justice Omotosho who presided over Kanu’s lawsuit, struck it out for lacking merit. 

The judge stated that Kanu’s case did not relate to torture or forced labour as he was never tortured while in custody based on the evidence before the court. Omotosho also said that the IPOB leader failed to provide the photographs and names of inmates who were allowed to wear different attires while in custody to prove his case. 

Justice Omotosho described the IPOB leader’s allegations as “a hypothesis without concrete evidence”, adding that a right to dignity is not a right to change clothes as an inmate in a prison.

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