Connect with us

News

Kanu Absent As Court Adjourns Trial Indefinitely

Published

on

The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday protested his planned re-arraignment on a fresh seven-count terrorism charge the Federal Government, FG, preferred against him.

Kanu, who has been in custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, for over 14 months, following his re-arrest in Kenya, accused FG of abusing the judicial process, vowing not to present himself for fresh trial, pending when the Court of Appeal’s judgment that ordered his release from detention, is complied with.

Advertisement

It will be recalled that the appellate court in Abuja had, in a judgment on October 13, quashed the entire 15-count charge FG entered against the IPoB leader.

The appellate court, among others, faulted the manner Kanu was arrested and extra-ordinarily rendered back to the country for continuation of his trial.

Advertisement

Vanguard had exclusively reported that though FG had since gone to the Supreme Court to set-aside the Appeal Court judgment that quashed the charge against Kanu, it subsequently entered a new charge against him.

While the old charge was marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, the new charge, which was slated in the causelist of the court for Kanu to enter his fresh plea, was marked FHC/ABJ/CR/ 484/ 2022.

Advertisement

When the case was called up, yesterday, a team of government prosecutors, led by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, DPPF, Mr. M.B. Abubakar, told trial Justice Binta Nyako that the IPOB leader declined to be brought before the court for re-arraignment.

Abubakar, who responded to an enquiry from the judge about why Kanu was not present in court, said he was notified that the defendant refused to follow DSS operatives that wanted to produce him before the court.

Advertisement

He said: “My lord, I understand that the defendant declined to come to court today”.

In his further explanation, a lawyer from the DSS, Mr. I. Awo, told the court that the IPOB leader said he would not make himself available for a fresh trial until the judgment that ordered his release is obeyed.

Advertisement

“My lord, as at 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.

Advertisement

“All entreaties and pleas were made but he refused to come to court.”

On his part, Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, described the allegation that his client refused to appear in court as “very strange”.

Advertisement

“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 hearing of all the matters.”

Advertisement

He further notified the trial judge about the Court of Appeal verdict that not only quashed the charge against Kanu, but also barred FG from prosecuting him over the same set of allegations.

Ozekhome argued that since both FG and his client have lodged separate appeals at the Supreme Court, he said it was better for the trial judge to hands-off the planned re-arraignment and await the decision of the apex court.

Advertisement

Besides, he told the court that his client was yet to be served with a copy of the fresh charge FG entered against him.

“We have not even been served with this charge. We only read about it on the social media. It was this morning that we discovered that it has been listed on the cause list and I thought that my learned friend will stand up and say that in view of the subsisting Appeal Court judgment, that he is withdrawing it.

Advertisement

“We are surprised because this is abuse of court process,” Ozekhome stated.

In his brief response, the DPPF, Mr. Abubakar, said he was not opposed to an adjournment to enable the Supreme Court to determine the appeals pending before it.

Advertisement

Consequently, trial Justice Nyako in a brief ruling, said she was minded to adjourn further proceedings in the case sine-die (indefinitely) to await the outcome of the pending appeals.

While the government in its appeal is seeking to set-aside the judgment that discharged Kanu, on the other hand, the IPoB leader went to the apex court to challenge the decision of the appellate court to suspend the execution of its verdict that ordered his release from detention.

Advertisement

Justice Nyako also adjourned a fundamental right enforcement suit Kanu filed to challenge his continued detention which described as illegal, unconstitutional.

Kanu is among other things, demanding N100billion from FG as compensation for the gross abuse of his fundamental rights, as well as an apology to be tendered to him through two national dailies.

Advertisement

Adjournment not unexpected —Lawyer

Reacting, Special Counsel to Kanu, Mr Aloy Ejimakor, described the indefinite adjournment of his trial by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, as “not unexpected”.

Advertisement

Ejimakor in a chat with Vanguard in Umuahia, said there are already legal landmines against re-arraigning Kanu before the High Court on the alleged amended counts of charge as the matter is already pending at the Supreme Court.

According to him: “My reaction to today’s Federal High Court, Abuja ruling,  declining further trial of Nnamdi Kanu:  The ruling today by Justice Binta of Federal High Court Abuja was not unexpected.

Advertisement

“There is absolutely no way she can proceed with the trial of Nnamdi Kanu in view of the jurisdictional barriers created by the Judgments of Court of Appeal and that of the Federal High Court, Umuahia.

“To cap it all, the matter is also pending before the Supreme Court on appeal. No trial court can proceed with any trial that is burdened by these triple factors.”

Advertisement

Family faults FG

Similarly, Kanu’s family has dismissed the Federal Government’s bid to re-try Kanu, as an abuse of court processes, time and resources.

Advertisement

Kanu’s younger brother, Emmanuel Kanu told Vanguard hat since the appeal by the Federal Government against the Court of Appeal judgment in favour of the IPoB Leader is still pending before the apex court, re-arraigning Kanu for trial at a lower court is a mockery of the judiciary.

Advertisement
Advertisement










Also Read...