Kanu Absent As Court Adjourns Trial Indefinitely
The Federal Government alleged that the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, refused to present himself before the Federal High Court in Abuja for his planned re-arraignment.
Kanu, who is currently in the custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, is facing an amended 7-count terrorism charge.
Kanu has been in detention since he was brought back from Kenya on June 19, 2021.
The IPOB leader was subsequently re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge.
On April 8, the trial court struck out eight of the 15 counts. The court of appeal later quashed the remaining seven counts on October 13.
Delivering judgment in the appeal, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Hanatu Sankey held that the federal government flouted the terrorism act in violation of international conventions and treaties, hence, breaching the rights of the respondent.
The court further held that having illegally and forcefully renditioned the appellant, the trial court is stripped of jurisdiction to continue to try Kanu.
However, the federal government is yet to release the IPOB leader.
Instead, it filed an appeal before the supreme court to challenge the appeal court judgment.
It also filed an application seeking to stay the execution of the judgment of the appellate court.
Ruling on the application, the court of appeal granted the government’s request.
However, on Monday, a team of government prosecutors led by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mr. M.B. Abubakar, told trial Justice Binta Nyako that the IPOB leader declined to be brought before the court for trial.
“My lord, I understand that the defendant declined to come to court today.
“As of last week, the defendant was intimated of this sitting and he did not object. However, when I called the office this morning, I was informed that the defendant woke up and declined to come to court.
“All entreaties and pleas were made but he refused to come to court”, the government lawyer told the court.
Kanu’s legal team, however, said the allegation was strange as Kanu had never hidden his intention to always be in court.
“My lord, this is totally strange to me because this is a person that has never hidden his intention to always be in court. In fact, even in processes we filed at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the defendant said he would want to be present in court for the hearing of all the matters,” Kanu’s legal team head, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said.
The court led by Justice Binta Nyako, however, adjourned the matter indefinitely.
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