The Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria will pass a ruling on April 15 in the matter filed by lawyers against what the term illegal deportation of the Ambazonia leaders from Nigeria to Cameroon.
The court finally opened hearing in Abuja today which was an opportunity for lawyers to presnt their case as they insist the leaders were illegally arrested and deported to Cameroon.
The lawyers told the court that for justice to take its course, the Ambazonia leaders have to be returned to Nigeria where they were arrested given the fact that both countries don’t have any extradition treaty.
But before April, the Ambazonia leaders will have to prove their nationality at the Yaounde military tribunal on February 7.
Lawyers of the detained leaders of the Ambazonia have urged the Yaounde military tribunal to return the accused to Nigeria where they were arrested over a year ago for their nationalities to be established.
They made their submission on Thursday January 10 as the case against the ten detained Ambazonia re-opened at the Yaounde military tribunal.
The detainees had rejectted their Cameroonian nationality in the previous hearing and did same on Wednesday insisting they were refugees of the former British Southern Cameroons on exile in Nigeria at the time of their arrest and extradition to Nigeria. The case wase adjourned for the 7
Barrister Patrick Yong said the military tribunal is not competent to try the accused given that questions have been raised over their nationality.
Given that their nationality is a subject of debate, only a civil court can establish it according to section 41(1) of the 1968 nationality codde. The residences of the accused have been mentioned by the judge and going by the Section 41(2) of the 1968 nationality code, « any such action shall be brought before the court of the domicile or failing that the residence of the person whose nationality is disputed, according to the rules of procedure in force, and the raising of Cameroon of foreign of procedure in force, and the raising of Cameroon of foreign nationality as a defence before any other court suspends further proceedings until decided in the ordinary civil court ».
He thus urged the court to order for the detainees to be flown back to Nigeria where their nationalites can be determined.
However, the Prosecutor Colonel Engono Thadée Consatant raised an objection saying most of the accused have worked for the Cameroon Public Service for years and can not today deny their Cameroonian nationality. He cited various means where loss of nationality can be applied but said the Ambazonia leaders do not fall under that category. Quoting Section 31(a) of the 1968 nationality code( Any Cameroon adult national who wilfully acquires or keeps a foreign nationality), he said the Ambazonia leaders still maintain their Cameroonian nationality. He defended the decision to extradite the Ambazonia leaders to Cameroon claiming they pose a heavy security threat to Nigeria thus they can also not be returned.
The detained Cameroon Anglophone separatist leaders arrive court at about 11: 25 am today and headed straight into the magistrate office.
Going by our reporter on the ground, the ten leaders were in high spirit as they were seen smiling and waving at family members.
Going by the report, Tassang Wilfred and Sissiku Ayuk Tabe, have shaved the grey moustache they had during their last appearance.
Five Minutes later, Sissiku and others were immediately bundled into their bus as the Cameroon court rejected their habeas corpus plea.
It would be recalled that the habeas corpus motion was filed in by their lawyers.
After making their first public appearance at the Appeal Court in Yaounde on November 1, the detained leaders had the opportunity to tell their story in court as their lawyers pleaded for their immediate release on grounds they were illegally extradited to Cameroon.
The fate of the Ambazonia leaders is still unclear with today’s court decision.