Alleged Fundamental Rights Breach: Court Dismisses Nnamdi Kanu’s Suit Against DSS

Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, against the Department of State Services (DSS).

Delivering Judgement, Justice Omotosho held that Kanu’s suit lacked merit and ought to be dismissed.

Justice Omotosho held that right to human dignity is contained in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution. He said it was clear that a right to human dignity related to right against torture, inhuman treatment, among others.

The judge held 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.

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

“The applicant cannot come to court to seek for 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 rely on bare facts without any evidence.

He described the IPOB leader’s allegations as “an hypothesis without concrete evidence.”

The judge, consequently, dismissed the case for lacking in merit.

Nnamdi Kanu had sued the Director General of DSS, and the Attorney-General of the Federation.

In the suit, the IPOB leader alleged that the DSS subjected him to different inhuman treatments, including denying him of his rights 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 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, among others.

He, therefore, sought an order directing the respondents to allow him put on any clothe 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 dismissed Kanu’s claim.

They said that their operatives did not and had never tortured Kanu either physically or mentally while in their custody.

According to the DSS, Kanu is kept in their facility where every other suspects are kept.

They said it was untrue that other suspects were allowed to put on any clothe of their choice, including Hausa and Yoruba traditional wears.

They said that the facility was not a recreational centre or traditional festival where Kanu and other suspects would be allowed to adore themselves in their respective traditional attires.

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

According to DSS, the clothes have colours of the non-existing Biafra Republic, which is the subject matter of applicant’s criminal trial.

They said the Isi-Agu attire, popularly called a chieftaincy attire, was not a suitable dress for persons in detention facility and 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 clothe of his choice and that any thing contrary would contravene the court’s directive.

The DSS said they never breached his right to human dignity as alleged by the IPOB leader.

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