Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, till October 21 following the failure of the Federal Government to produce him in court on Monday.
When the matter was called at about 11.10 a.m. after counsel representing parties had announced their appearances, lead counsel to the prosecution, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the court that the case was for continuation of trial and was ready for the proceedings, even though Kanu was not produced in court by the Department of State Services (DSS).
He however requested the court to proceed with the trial without a fiat, from the Chief Judge of the court, taking into consideration that the court has commenced its annual vacation and the trial judge was not one of the vacation judges.
Reacting, Kanu’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, informed the court of an application he filed seeking the transfer of Kanu from DSS custody to correctional centre.
The trial judge, in a short ruling, held that the trial of Kanu cannot proceed in his absence, having been arrested and brought into the country.
She insisted that Kanu must physically be brought to court since he is now available to face his trial and urged the prosecution to ensure that Kanu be brought to court to witness his trial. She then adjourned the matter till October 21.
Meanwhile, Kanu’s lead counsel on Monday, also told the court that the DSS had denied him and relatives of Kanu the opportunity to see him.
“I was informed authoritatively, I am speaking from the bar, that Nnamdi Kanu has been taken out of jurisdiction of this court.
“We have been denied access to Kanu in the last 10 days. We are worried about his safety and don’t know why the Federal Government refused to bring him in court,” Ejiofor told the court.
It will be recalled that after over two years of manhunt, the Federal Government re-arrested the Biafran leader and was immediately brought to Nigeria for continuation of his trial.