The trial of IBOP leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu could not commence today as earlier scheduled as the federal government failed to produce him in court, forcing the adjournment of the case to October 21.
The DSS said Kanu could not be produced in court due to “logistics problems”.
Kanu’s absence in court today has heightened apprehension in his camp that the content of the viral video in which the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Shehu Malami was quoted as claiming that the federal government had no plans to try Kanu but would delay his trial for as long as it would to take wear him out in detention to a slow death.
Although Malami denied any such plan or his alleged hate remarks against Ndigbo vis-avis Fulani supremacy over all other tribes in the country, misgivings about the unlikeliness of Kanu getting a fair trial in became even more palpable after Kanu’s lawyer Barr. Ifeanyi alleged at the court today that Kanu’s legal team as well as his family members had been denied access to him in the past 10 days, apparently because the IPOB leader had been taken out of the jurisdiction of the federal court Abuja, that is, that Kanu was not anywhere within the jurisdiction of the federal high court at the time of his scheduled trial this morning.
“I was informed authoritatively – I am speaking from the bar – that Nnamdi Kanu has been taken out of jurisdiction of this court,” Ejiofor complained. 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 to court.”
Signs that today’s trial was doomed showed early enough when the prosecution counsel Mr. Mohammed Abubakar challenged the powers of the judge to continue with Kanu’s trial without the fiat of the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, positing that since the court commenced its annual vacation on July 26, it followed that a vacation judge should step up to hear the trial.
“I want to draw the attention of the court that the court’s annual vacation for judges has commenced. (And) there is no fiat from the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for this court to continue with the trial of the defendant. We don’t know if this court can be able to continue. I don’t think in the absence of a fiat from the Chief Judge, that we can be able to continue,” Abubakar argued.
Responding, trial judge held that Kanu’s trial, could not, in any case, proceed in his absence, especially since he had earlier been arrested, brought into the country and already arraigned before her court.
It meant as well that in the absence of Kanu, Mr. ifeanyi Ejiofor’s information to the court of his an application he had filed seeking the transfer of Kanu from DSS custody to the Kuje Correctional Centre could also not be treated.
Justice Binta Nyako had insisted that Kanu must physically be brought to court since he is now available to face his trial.
The court, however, urged the prosecution to ensure that Kanu was brought to court to face his trial, ordering the DSS to allow counsel to Kanu to have access to him.
In court to witness the proceedings was the representative of Ohaneze, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife.
Meanwhile, some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who had thronged the court to support the IPOB leader, Mazi Kanu, were arrested by security operatives.
Some of the arrested IPOB members, dressed in Jewish apparel, chanted solidarity songs in support of Kanu, demanding his freedom.