The trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has suffered a major setback on Monday after the Department of State Services (DSS) failed to produce him at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the trial till October 21, 2021, after the DSS blamed Kanu’s absence in court on what it termed as “logistical problems”.
At the resumption of the court proceedings on Monday, Justice Nyako noted that she had stayed back in her chambers waiting for the defendant to be in court.
She faulted the DSS and asked the the security outfit to be diligent with dates whenever she gives one, stressing that it was important for Nnamdi Kanu to be present at his trial.
In his response, the prosecution, Mohammed Abubakar, informed the judge that the defendant was not in court due to logistics reasons.
But Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, complained that his client cannot get a fair trial if he remains in the custody of the DSS. He noted that the DSS has denied them access to the defendant for the past eight days.
Ejiofor urged Justice Nyako to grant the request of his client seeking to be transferred from the DSS custody to the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja where he can get fair trail
He also asked the judge to grant Kanu access to his medical doctor for the purpose of carrying out a comprehensive independent medical examination on him.
After listening to the counsels, Justice Nyako said she would direct the DSS to grant Kanu access to his lawyers, but noted that such access would not be free for all, as it must be regimented.
The judge also declined the proposal of the defence counsel that Kanu should be transferred to a correctional centre, ordering that he should remain in the DSS custody of the DSS.
She, thereafter, adjourned the trial of the defendant to October 21, noting that the date could be brought back if the prosecution was able to obtain a fiat from the court’s chief judge to allow proceedings during the ongoing vacation of the court.
Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial
The IPOB leader was arraigned on Monday, July 26, 2021, for the continuation of his trial on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, and managing an unlawful society.
Other allegations levelled against him by the government were the publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, and improper importation of goods, among others.
Nnamdi Kanu was initially detained and arraigned in Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, but he fled the country in 2017 after he was granted bail for medical reasons.
After four years since he jumped bail, the IPOB leader was arrested in Kenya and repatriated to Nigeria on July 27, in an operation conducted by Nigerian security operatives in collaboration with international partners, to face the charges for which he jumped.