The fundamental rights violation suit brought against the federal government at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice by leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, stalled on Tuesday.
The court was informed that lead counsel to the Nigerian government, Mr. Dayo Apata, was at a meeting with Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
Kanu had approached the court through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, with a motion against the Nigerian government on alleged violation of his rights and demanded an order of the ECOWAS Court for compensation of the sum of $800million as damages.
The matter adjourned for hearing of the substantive suit and inclusion of fresh motions by Ejiofor, was further adjourned yesterday following the inability of the government counsel to attend the hearing.
A counsel representing the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abdullahi Abubakar asked for stand-down of the case which the court granted to enable government lawyer to be present in court.
Abubakar’s request was predicated on the grounds that the Nigerian government lawyer was at the Supreme Court for a different matter and asked for a short postponement of the hearing.
Following Abubakar’s application, the case was stood down for two hours.
However, when the court resumed session on the matter, Abubakar again approached the court with another request for an adjournment on the ground that the government lawyer, Dayo Apata, the Solicitor-General of the Federation, was unavailable.
Abubakar further told the court that his team had not gotten some of the documents from a previous ruling in the ECOWAS Court.
In his response, Ejiofor accused the Nigerian government of “deliberately delaying the matter”.
Ejiofor asked the court to compel the respondent to pay a cost of N2million for what he described as deliberate frustration of the matter.
The court adjourned the matter till November 21, for hearing of all the applications and determination of Ejiofor’s motion for award of cost against the respondents.
In a chat with newsmen on his client’s absence in court, Ejiofor reiterated: “only the Nigerian army can speak on Kanu’s current location”.
“The military and federal government are in a position to tell me where my client is. We are going to settle it in court,” he said.