Nnamdi Kanu’s Rights Suit Against DSS Dismissed by Court

In a stunning development, the Federal High Court in Abuja has reached a verdict in the highly anticipated fundamental rights enforcement suit brought forth by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), against the Department of State Services (DSS). Presided over by the esteemed Justice James Omotosho, the court has resolutely dismissed Kanu’s suit on the grounds of lacking merit.

The suit, officially identified as FHC/ABJ/CS/482/2022 and filed by Kanu’s legal counsel, named the Director General of DSS and the Attorney-General of the Federation as the first to third respondents, respectively. In his contentions, Kanu made grave allegations regarding the treatment he endured at the hands of the DSS. He asserted that he was subjected to various forms of inhumane treatment, including the denial of his right to don the revered Igbo traditional attire called “Isi-Agu” while in DSS custody or during his court appearances.

Kanu further claimed that while other detainees enjoyed the liberty to select and wear their preferred garments, he was unjustly restricted to a solitary outfit. Additionally, he accused the DSS of subjecting him to torture and violating his dignity, among other grievances. As a result, Kanu sought a court order compelling the respondents to grant him the freedom to wear clothing of his choosing while within the confines of the DSS facility or in public.

However, the DSS and its Director General promptly responded with a resolute counter affidavit, beseeching the court to dismiss Kanu’s claims. They emphatically refuted any allegations of physical or mental torture inflicted upon Kanu during his time in their custody. According to the DSS, their treatment of Kanu adhered to the same standards applied to any other detainee held within their facility. They adamantly contested Kanu’s assertion that other detainees were permitted to attire themselves in ethnic garb, stressing that the DSS dress code strictly followed a Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) that mandated plain clothing devoid of offensive symbols, writings, colors, or insignias.

Moreover, the DSS accused Kanu’s family of attempting to provide him with traditional garments adorned with Biafra insignias, as well as a pair of eye-catching red shoes embellished with dazzling beads. These items were deemed inappropriate as they bore the colors associated with the non-existent Biafra Republic, a subject matter directly relevant to Kanu’s ongoing criminal trial. The DSS argued that the attire known as Isi-Agu, typically reserved for chieftaincy ceremonies, was ill-suited for individuals in detention facilities and directly contravened their SOP.

Additionally, the DSS highlighted that Justice Binta Nyako, presiding over Kanu’s trial, had previously issued a directive allowing him to don plain clothing of his choice. Any deviation from this directive would constitute a breach of the court’s orders. Finally, the DSS vehemently denied any violations of Kanu’s right to human dignity, firmly asserting that the allegations levied by the IPOB leader lacked concrete evidence.

In delivering his comprehensive judgment, Justice Omotosho placed paramount importance on the right to human dignity enshrined in Section 34 of the 1999 Constitution. He clarified that this right primarily encompassed protection against torture and inhuman treatment. According to the judge, Kanu’s case did not involve elements of torture or forced labor, as the evidence presented fell short of substantiating such claims. Justice Omotosho emphatically stressed that the right to dignity did not encompass the right to alter one’s attire while in custody.

Furthermore, the judge noted with significance that Kanu failed to provide any photographic evidence or names of detainees who were permitted to wear different clothing during their confinement. It was incumbent upon Kanu to substantiate his claims with verifiable proof, yet he relied solely on unsubstantiated allegations without presenting any supporting evidence. Consequently, Justice Omotosho unequivocally dismissed the case on the basis of its lack of merit.

As the gavel fell, resounding echoes of the court’s decision reverberated throughout the legal landscape, leaving Nnamdi Kanu’s rights suit against the DSS in shambles. With this ruling, the court resolutely establishes the absence of any constitutional infringements committed by the DSS. As this chapter of Nnamdi Kanu’s ongoing legal saga draws to a close, the dismissal resolutely concludes this particular episode, compelling all parties involved to reflect on the ramifications of the court’s resolute decision.