DSS’ failure to produce Nnamdi Kanu, judges vacation stall IPOB leader’s trial

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Photo: IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu

The failure of operatives of the Department of State Security Services (DSS) to produce Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), for his scheduled trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja stalled his trial on Monday.

The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, who adjourned the case till October 21, citing Kanu’s absence from court, and the fact that the judges of the court began their vacation on Monday as the combined reasons for the long adjournment.

Meanwhile, Kanu’s supporters who trooped to the entrance of the court in solidarity with their leader, were disappointed by the adjournment and protested at court’s entrance upon hearing of the adjournment.

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Earlier, the prosecuting lawyer, M. B Abubakar, informed the judge that Mr Kanu’s absence might be due to “logistical” issues encountered by the DSS, in whose custody the court had ordered that Kanu be kept.

Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had however countered the claim of the prosecution, saying the IPOB leader had been moved out of Abuja.

Kanu who is standing trial on charges of treasonable felony for leading the secessionist group called the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, was granted bail by Justice Nyako in April 2017.

He thereafter fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military in September of that year.

The separatist was rearrested abroad and brought back to Nigeria in June, about four years after his trial on charges of treasonable felony was stalled due to his disappearance from the country.

Justice Nyako had on June 29 ordered that Kanu be remanded in the custody of the DSS pending his trial.

Whereas the operatives of the Nigerian secret police had restricted a section of the media from covering the proceedings and took over the entire court premises and the adjoining roads much earlier before the proceedings started at about 11.10a.m, not a few persons were surprised that they failed to produce Kanu in court on Monday.

The court had released a lean list of  10 media organizations accredited to cover the trial on Monday.

Many were surprised that Nigeria which is known for operating multiple media platforms had a paltry 10 groups listed for the coverage.

Instructively, not a single radio station is in the list released, while most major national dailies like The Sun, Guardian, Vanguard and Punch newspapers were not listed also, implying that they were not permitted to send reporters to the court for the trial even though all of them have designated reporters covering the judiciary beat.

No reason was given in the memo signed by Catherine Oby Christopher in the memo dated July 23, which listed  the accredited 10 media organizations for the coverage of the proceedings.

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