The Federal High Court in Abuja has granted the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, the permission to apply for an order of mandamus to compel the Department of State Service to allow him to have unfettered access to medical care.
In the suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 2341/2022, Kanu through his legal team led by Mike Ozekhome and Ifeanyi Ejiofor said he needed an independent medical examination to ascertain his health condition.
After hearing an ex-parte application filed by the IPOB leader, Justice Binta Nyako, directed Kanu’s legal team to serve all the relevant processes on both the DSS and its Director General, who were cited as 1st and 2nd Respondents in the matter.
The IPOB leader said he would require from the DSS his admission records, medical and clinical notes, nursing notes, observation charts and documentation during treatment or stay-in-hospital, laboratory test results, pharmaceutical records, radiological scans, images and reports, blood transfusion records, physiotherapy and rehabilitative treatment records, clinical findings, as well as diagnosis and treatment prescribed records.
He pointed out that on October 21, 2021, Justice Nyako had ordered that he should be allowed access to three persons of his choice, including his medical doctors.
Specifically, he is praying to the court for an order, granting him leave to, “apply for judicial review in the form of an order of Mandamus, compelling the Respondents to allow the Applicant unhindered 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. Justice B.F.M. Nyako, on the 21st day of October 2021; and as required by the express provisions of section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017.
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, till date.
Contending that section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, provided that a person arrested, detained or undergoing, custodial investigation, shall have the right to demand a physical and psychological examination by an independent and competent doctor of his own choice after interrogation, which shall be conducted outside the influence of the Police or security forces.
The Respondents have repeatedly denied the Applicant access to medical doctors of his choice to independently examine him, contrary to the order of the court made on the 21st October 2021; and the express provisions of Section 7 of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017.”
He also alleged that his health condition has worsened following his ordeal detention where he was subjected to torture, inhuman treatment and degradation and that he suffered a mild cardiac arrest before he was “smuggled back into Nigeria”.
In a verifying affidavit, Kanu told the court that before his arrest and abduction, in Kenya and extraordinary rendition back to Nigeria, he visited a Specialist Cardiologist every week for medical examination and treatment.
“Medical Reports containing the medical history of the Applicant as was issued by medical specialists managing the Applicant before his abduction in Kenya and extraordinary rendition to Nigeria are hereby attached and variously marked as Exhibits MNK 3, MNK 4 and MNK 5.
That notwithstanding the fact that the Applicant has been discharged by the appellate court and his further detention prohibited, 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.
“The Applicant’s health condition has continued to take a downward spiral since then.
That various medical personnel that attended to the Applicant whilst in custody had repeatedly informed him that they could not ascertain the reason for the depletion of potassium in the Applicant’s blood.
That on various occasions, the medical personnel brought by the Respondents took the Applicant’s blood sample and allegedly transported the same to South Africa for screening and up till the present, there is no end in sight for their trial-and-error medicare.
“That all medical experts that have so far attended to this complex health situation of the Applicant failed to medically fathom the explanation for the continued failure of various treatments so far given to the Applicant, hence their inquiries as to whether the Applicant may have been injected with a dangerous substance by those that abducted him in Kenya before being forcibly smuggled into Nigeria.
“That the medical personnel attending to the Applicant in the custody of the Respondents are oblivious of the cause of the Applicant’s health condition and are basically 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 whatsoever in his health condition. Attached and marked as Exhibit MNK 6 is a copy of the Applicant’s medical report issued by the Respondents.
“That the full medical history of the Applicant as contained in his Medical file with the detaining authority were deliberately suppressed, as the facts of the speedy depletion in his potassium content was clearly deleted from the medical report which the Respondents issued to the Applicant”.