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Court puts off Kanu’s trial indefinitely

By Ameh Ochojila and Ernest Nzor (Abuja)
15 November 2022   |   6:09 am
A federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned, indefinitely, the trial of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in terrorism charges brought against him by Federal Government.

Lead counsel for Nnamdi Kanu, Chief Mike Ozekhome (left); Ifeanyi Ejiofor and other members of his legal team at the Federal High Court, Abuja… yesterday.

Government committing double jeopardy, HURIWA alleges

A federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, adjourned, indefinitely, the trial of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in terrorism charges brought against him by Federal Government.

Justice Binta Nyako put off the trial, indefinitely, at the instance of Kanu, pending the resolution of Federal Government’s appeal against the October 13 judgment of the Court of Appeal that freed him from terrorism charges.

The Federal Government’s appeal, seeking reversal of the Court of Appeal judgment, is pending before the Supreme Court. Two other cases billed for hearing before the court were also put off, indefinitely, for the same reason.

Meanwhile, Kanu, yesterday, refused to appear before a Federal High Court, Abuja, in protest against Federal Government’s refusal to obey the Court of Appeal judgment that ordered his release from detention.

The refusal to appear in court was conveyed to Justice Nyako by Federal Government counsel, Mohammed Abubakar. He informed the court that all entreaties made to persuade Kanu to have a change of heart were rebuffed.

The IPOB leader was said to have stood his ground not to appear in court until the October 13 judgment of the Court of Appeal is respected and obeyed by releasing him from the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) in Abuja.

The Director of Public Prosecution, M.B. Abubakar, who appeared for the government, did not oppose an application by Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, for the case to be adjourned to await the Supreme Court’s decision.

Ozekhome, however, noted that his client was yet to be served with a copy of the fresh charge, which Federal Government filed against him, saying his team only heard about it from the social media.

Recently, Federal Government, again, filed fresh amended seven count charges of terrorism against the detained leader of IPOB.

MEANWHILE, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), yesterday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of committing double jeopardy on Kanu by filing same charges of terrorism, which were quashed by the Court of Appeal.

HURIWA, in a statement by it National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, accused Buhari of rubbishing the principle of rule of law by failing to obey the appellate court’s verdict, which had earlier freed Kanu, but secretly obtained a stay of execution of the appellate court’s judgment, and subsequently filed appeal at the Supreme Court only to rush back to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to re-file some of those charges of terrorism already quashed by both the Court of Appeal and the court of first instance.

HURIWA believes that the action of Federal Government in Kanu’s case is despicable and totally primitive, considering that under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, every person has fundamental human rights, including those accused of crimes or offences. They are protected under section 36 of the Constitution as it clearly stipulates safeguards to ensure fair trial of the accused or defendant.

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