From NDUKAIHE UGWU, Abuja
In apparent concession to DSS that its failure to produce IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in court was actually due to logistics reasons and premeditated, Justice Binta Nyako today refused to grant Kanu’s application, through his lawyer, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, for transfer to Kuje Correctional Centre.
The lawyer, who had expressed worry at the absence of Kanu in court, alleged that his client was subjected to dehumanising conditions in DSS custody, lamenting that he and the rest of Kanu’s legal team and members of his family had had no access to Kanu in the last 10 days.
Ejiofor also told the court that he had it on good authority that Kanu had been taken out of the jurisdiction of the court to an unknown destination.
He said he had a motion on notice filed before the court, seeking for: 1) “An order of this Honourable Court directing the transfer of the Applicant from the custody of the National Headquarters of the State Security Service to the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre in Kuje, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, where he was originally detained before he was granted bail, pending the determination of the charge, and 2):
“An order of this Honourable Court directing the Defendant/Applicant’s custodian to grant access to his medical experts/doctors for the purpose of carrying out a comprehensive independent medical examination of the Defendant/Applicant’s health condition/status, while in custody.”
However, although Justice Nyako said the earlier remand order at the DSS facility still subsisted, she made an order for the lawyers to be given access to their client (Kanu).
“But it is not going to be all an comers-affair; it will be regimented. You can’t get up at night and say you want to visit your client,” she stated. “(So) no, I am not transferring him to correctional centre. I am keeping him there (DSS custody) and I am going to make an order that you should be given access.”
Nyako, who condemned the prosecution’s failure (or refusal) to produce Kanu in court, ordered that Kanu be produced in court in the next adjourned date.
“Before you can take a criminal case, the defendant must be in court. I have been sitting down here since waiting for you,” the judge reprimanded the DSS. “I will not take this kind of practice in the conduct of this case. When I give you a date, I want you to continue on that date. And you cannot continue until the defendant is present.”
To witness the proceedings were a former Governor of old Anambra, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, leading Chief Goddy Uwazuruike, a lawyer, who represented Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Barrister M. C. Udebuani who appeared for an association of all the Igbo lawyers in Abuja (Otuokiwu).