Abuja Court Denies Nnamdi Kanu’s Request To Wear Igbo Attire In Custody Of Nigeria Secret Police, DSS | #NwokeukwuMascot

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Mazi Nnamdi Kanu

Federal High Court in Abuja has dismissed a fundamental rights enforcement suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, the illegally detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against the Department of State Services (DSS).

Justice James Omotosho on Thursday held that the IPOB leader’s application lacks merit and was therefore refused.

The court rejected Kanu’s request to wear Igbo attire, saying denying him the opportunity to wear such attire does not amount to a violation of human rights as alleged by the IPOB leader, according to the News Agency Of Nigeria.

In the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/482/2022 which was filed by his lawyer, Kanu had sued the Director General of DSS, DSS, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, who are 1st to 3rd respondents respectively.

The IPOB leader alleged that the DSS subjected him to different inhuman treatments, including denying him the right to wear clothes of his choice like the Igbo attire called ‘Isi-Agu’ while in their facility or any time he appeared in court for his trial.

He alleged that the security outfit however gives other detainees in custody the freedom to wear any clothes of their choice. 

He, therefore, sought an order from the court directing the respondents to allow him to wear any clothing of his choice while in the facility of the secret police or when appearing in court, among other reliefs.

However, in a counter-affidavit filed by the DSS and its DG, they urged the court to dismiss Kanu’s claim.

According to them, the secret police never tortured Kanu physically or mentally while in their custody. 

The DSS denied allowing other detainees to put on any clothing of their choice, whether Hausa or Yoruba attire.

The secret police said it follows the Standard Operation Procedure (SOP) on dress code in the treatment of persons in their facilities. 

According to the DSS, its facility is not a recreational centre or traditional festival where Kanu and other suspects would be allowed to don their respective traditional attire.

“That in line with global best practices, persons in the 1st and 2nd respondents’ facility are allowed to wear only plain clothes which do not bear symbols, writings, colours and insignias that are offensive to any religion, ethnic group or even the Nigeria state in general,” they said.

They accused Kanu’s family of bringing traditional attire and other clothing with Biafra insignias and red shoes decorated with shining beads for him to wear in custody and for trials.

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

Delivering judgment, Justice Omotosho 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 noted that a right to dignity was not a right to change clothes as an inmate or detainee in a prison.

“The applicant cannot come to court to seek rights which are not in the constitution,” he said.

Justice Omotosho also held that the IPOB leader failed to provide photographs and names of fellow detainees allowed to wear traditional attire in DSS custody.

The judge, therefore, dismissed the case for lack of merit.

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