The Department of State Services gave “logistics difficulties” for not producing the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in court on Monday, a member of the IPOB leader’s legal team, Aloy Ejimakor, has said.
The lawyer stated this in a chat with The PUNCH on Monday.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that Kanu was absent from court when his trial resumed at the Federal High Court Abuja on Monday.
Justice Binta Nyako, therefore, stated that the trial could not continue in the absence of Kanu since he was not available to stand his trial.
The judge also did not attend to the prayer of Kanu’s lawyers that the court should grant a pending application before it to transfer Kanu from the custody of the Department of State Services to a correctional centre in Abuja.
Justice Nyako subsequently adjourned the trial of Kanu to October 21, 2021, for continuation of hearing.
Reacting, Ejimakor said, “The DSS didn’t bring Kanu to court. They gave no valid reason for Kanu not being in court except to say that they had logistics difficulties but the Judge disagreed and told them that “trial can never commence without defendant being present”.”
Ejimakor also said the judge ordered the secret police to grant Kanu access to his lawyers twice a week – Mondays and Thursdays.
The lawyer said though the matter was adjourned to October 21, the judge noted that “should any issue concerning the case arise during the vacation, we should call the attention of her staff to it so that she can get the permission of the chief judge for vacation judge to grant us a hearing”.
Ejimakor also said contrary to expectations, the court did not amend the charges.
On June 29, 2021 reported that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), at a press briefing in Abuja, announced that the IPOB leader was arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.
Kanu, who was born on September 25, 1967, is a holder of Nigerian and British passports. He had earlier jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom though he told the court that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.
Upon his re-arrest and extradition in June 2021, he was re-arraigned before Justice Nyako for terrorism-related charges and has since been remanded in DSS custody.
The British Government subsequently expressed readiness to provide “consular assistance” for Kanu but needed him to assent to the assistance by signing some forms.
However, Ejimakor, who took the forms to Kanu in DSS custody of recent, said the secret police stopped Kanu from signing the consular assistance forms by the United Kingdom.
The development sparked reactions as to the legality and otherwise of the Nigerian government to bar Kanu from seeking consular assistance from the UK.