FACT-CHECK: Is Peter Obi’s claim about Tinubu’s administration disobeying court orders on Nnamdi Kanu correct or not?

Mr Kanu, who is facing terrorism charges, has been in detention since he was rearrested and brought back to Nigeria from Kenya in June 2021 under controversial circumstances.

On 29 June, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, claimed Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was being detained by the Nigerian government against a court order.

Mr Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, stated this while speaking to reporters in Onitsha, a commercial hub of the state.

“I don’t see any reason for his continuous detention, especially as the courts have granted him bail. The government must obey the court.

“We are in a democracy, and we should not be doing things that are arbitrary and not within the law,’’ he had said.

Bola Tinubu is the current Nigerian president. He assumed office as president on 29 May 2023 after his victory in the 25 February 2023 Presidential Election.

What transpired
Mr Kanu was first arrested in 2015 under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.

The IPOB leader was being tried for alleged terrorism, among other charges.

The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on 13 October 2022, held that the IPOB leader was extraordinarily renditioned to Nigeria and that the action was a flagrant violation of the country’s extradition treaty and a breach of his fundamental human rights.

The court, therefore, struck out the terrorism charges filed against Mr Kanu by the Nigerian government and ordered his release from the facility of the State Security Service.

But about one week later, the government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, appealed the court ruling and subsequently obtained a Supreme Court order staying its execution.

Delivering judgement on the appeal on 15 December 2023, the Supreme Court reversed the acquittal granted to Mr Kanu by the lower court and consequently ordered the continuation of his trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja.

The Supreme Court is the highest in Nigeria.

The trial is currently ongoing at the lower court.

The claim by Mr Obi that the Nigerian government was detaining Mr Kanu against a court order is factually incorrect and misleading.

This is because the Supreme Court overturned the ruling of the lower court in December 2023.

The continued detention and trial of Mr Kanu are, therefore, in compliance with the judgement of the Supreme Court.

President Tinubu, meanwhile, assumed office about seven months after the former administration of Mr Buhari had appealed and obtained the order staying the execution of the court judgement, which initially freed the IPOB leader.