Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday dismissed the fundamental human rights suit filed by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, against the Federal Government.

Kanu sought N1 billion in damages from the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Department of State Services (DSS) for alleged rights violations. In the suit, marked FHC/CS/1633/2023, Kanu claimed that the DSS and its Director-General violated his right to a fair hearing by allegedly preventing his lawyers from having unhindered interactions with him in preparation for his defense in his criminal trial.

Justice Omotosho, delivering the judgment, stated that Kanu failed to provide credible evidence to support his claims that his interactions with his lawyers were interfered with, that he was denied unhindered access to his lawyers, and that DSS officials eavesdropped on his conversations with his lawyers, which constituted a breach of his right to a fair hearing.

The judge further noted that Kanu did not prove that his lawyers were stopped from taking notes during meetings held with him during visitation and that there was no evidence showing that he was denied a fair hearing as claimed in his suit. Consequently, the suit was dismissed for lacking merit.

Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, filed the suit on December 4, 2023, against the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the AGF, the DSS, and its Director-General as the 1st to 4th respondents respectively. The suit demanded the enforcement of Kanu’s fundamental rights while in detention at the DSS.

Kanu’s claims included that the respondents forcibly seized and photocopied confidential legal documents, refused or prevented his counsel from taking notes, and eavesdropped on his consultations with his lawyers, amounting to a denial of his rights. He sought an injunction to prevent the DSS from these acts and demanded N1 billion in damages for the alleged rights violations.

In response, the FRN and the AGF urged the court to dismiss the suit as an abuse of court process. The DSS, in a counter-affidavit, denied the allegations, stating that Kanu was in safe custody and that his interactions with his lawyers were not interfered with. The DSS maintained that all visitors undergo routine security checks to prevent unauthorized materials from entering the facility.

The DSS argued that Kanu’s suit was an abuse of court process, noting that similar issues had been addressed previously by Justice Nyako, who presides over Kanu’s criminal trial. The DSS emphasized that Kanu has always had access to his family and legal team without hindrance and denied any seizure or confiscation of documents brought to Kanu by his lawyers.

Justice Omotosho’s ruling affirms the decision of the lower courts, stating that there was no credible evidence to support Kanu’s claims, thus dismissing the suit for lack of merit.