On Wednesday, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, received permission from the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Department of State Service, DSS, to grant him unimpeded access to his medical doctor.
After hearing the embattled IPOB leader’s ex-parte application through his team of lawyers led by Prof. Mike Ozekhome, SAN, and Sir Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Trial Justice Binta Nyako made the decision.
The court ordered Kanu’s legal team to serve all relevant processes on the DSS and its Director General, who were listed as the first and second respondent in the case, when it adjourned the case until February 21.
In the suit titled FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, Kanu stated that he would require an independent medical examination from his doctors to determine his health.
In particular, he requests permission to “apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to allow the Applicant unimpeded access to his medical doctors to enable them to conduct an independent examination of his present deteriorating health condition, as earlier ordered by the Federal High Court, Abuja, Coram, Hon. On October 21, 2021, Justice B.F.M. Nyako; and in accordance with the explicit requirements of Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017.”
In addition, “an order of this Honourable Court granting leave to the Applicant to apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to avail the Applicant with all his medical records, from the 29th day of June 2021, to date” are included in the ruling.
Kanu gave a list of the records he would need from the DSS, which included the following: his admission records, medical and clinical notes, nursing notes, observation charts and documentation during treatment or stay in the hospital, laboratory test results, pharmaceutical records, radiological scans, images, and reports, blood transfusion records, physiotherapy and rehabilitative treatment records, clinical findings, and diagnosis and treatment prescribed records are all included in this set.
On the grounds that he filed the application, Kanu mentioned that on October 21, 2021, trial Justice Nyako had ordered that he should have access to three people of his choosing, including his medical doctors.
Kanu argued that a person arrested, detained, or undergoing a custodial investigation had the right, under section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017, to demand a physical and psychological examination from an independent and competent doctor of his own choice following interrogation. This examination had to be done without the influence of the police or security forces.
Contrary to the court’s order of October 21, 2021, “The Respondents have repeatedly denied the Applicant access to medical doctors of his choice to independently examine him;” and Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act of 2017 specifically,” he added.
Kanu testified to the court in a verifying affidavit that was deposed by Chimmuanya Emenari that prior to his arrest, abduction, and extra-ordinarily return to Nigeria, he went to a specialist in cardiology once a week for medical examination and treatment.
“Medical Reports containing the Applicant’s medical history as issued by medical specialists managing the Applicant prior to his abduction in Kenya and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria are hereby attached and variously marked as Exhibits MNK 3, MNK 4, and MNK 5,” the document reads.
“That the Applicant is still being held in solitary confinement in the custody of the Respondents, where he is exposed to daily mental and psychological torture and degradation of his human person, even though the Applicant has been discharged by the appellate court and his further detention is prohibited.”
Kanu claimed that during his “abduction” in Kenya, he was subjected to brutal torture, inhuman treatment, and degrading treatment, all of which made his health worse. As a result, he had a slight cardiac arrest before being “smuggled back into Nigeria,” Kanu said.
Since that time, the applicant’s health has continued to deteriorate.
That the applicant’s various medical staff repeatedly informed him that they were unable to determine the cause of the potassium depletion in his blood while the applicant was in custody.
“That on multiple occasions, the medical personnel brought by the Respondents took the Applicant’s blood sample and allegedly transported it to South Africa for screening, and that their trial-and-error medicare has continued unabated to the present day.
“That all medical professionals who have dealt with the applicant’s complicated health condition up to this point have failed to medically comprehend the reason for the continued failure of various treatments that have been administered to the applicant; consequently, their inquiries as to whether the applicant may have been injected with a dangerous substance by those who took him in Kenya before forcing him into Nigeria.
“That the medical personnel treating the applicant while he is in the custody of the Respondents are essentially using the applicant as a guinea pig while carrying out a trial-and-error exercise, as they keep changing his drugs and increasing the dosage without any improvement in his health condition. That the medical personnel are oblivious to the cause of the applicant’s health condition. A copy of the Respondents’ medical report for the Applicant is attached and marked as Exhibit MNK 6.
“That the facts of the applicant’s rapid potassium depletion were clearly omitted from the medical report that the respondents issued to the applicant and that the complete medical history of the applicant that was contained in his Medical File with the detaining authority were deliberately suppressed.
“That the Respondents denied access to the Applicant’s doctor, Dr. CFine Okorochukwu, who had gone to visit him on the 29th of August, 2022, and the 1st and 15th of September, 2022, respectively, in flagrant disregard to the Order of the Trial Court, which was made on the 21st of October, 2021, which order directed that the Applicant should be allowed access to three persons of his choice, which persons include his doctors,” according Copies of the letters that informed the Respondents of the Doctor’s identity are attached and marked as Exhibit MNK8.
“That on the 12th of December, 2022, the Applicant, through his lead Counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, wrote to the Respondents and demanded that the Applicant be given unimpeded access to his own medical doctors, following the Respondents’ continued refusal to allow the Applicant access to his medical doctor; as well as for the complete medical records of the applicant. A copy of the aforementioned letter is attached as Exhibit MNK9.
“That the Respondents utterly disregarded the Applicant’s request to have access to his doctors and his medical records.”
Kanu told the court that despite the DSS’s refusal to provide him with his medications and his deteriorating health, it rejected the N1 million that his family had raised because of a lack of funds.
It should be recalled that on October 13, 2022, the Court of Appeal in Abuja quashed a 15-count terrorism charge the Federal Government had filed against Kanu and discharged him.
On October 28, 2022, the appellate court granted a stay of execution of its judgment to wait for the Supreme Court’s decision in response to an appeal filed by FG.