By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has deferred the trial of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, till June 28.
The court had on March 18, slated Thursday to continue further proceedings on the treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against Kanu.
However, lead counsel of the IPOB, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who hitherto headed the defendant’s legal team, in a statement on Wednesday, disclosed that the case would no longer proceed as earlier scheduled due to the unavailability of the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako.
“Please be informed that we have just received communication from the Federal High Court’s Registrar, notifying us that the Court will no longer be sitting tomorrow, 26th May, 2022, on Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s case.
“According to the Registrar, this is because His lordship, Justice Binta Nyako is indisposed, and as such, the matter is now adjourned to the 28th day of June, 2022 for Ruling/Hearing.
“We most respectfully, urge you all to maintain restraint, as you have always done. Keep your eyes on the ball, which is the freedom of Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“Also, please note that Justice delayed is not justice denied. We are aggressively cruising to victory, it is only a matter of time.
“We profoundly appreciate your solidarity, unflinching support and prayers, which have been sustaining us thus far. Please do not relent in your prayers, we do not take it for granted.
“We shall continue to keep you all informed as events unfold”, Ejiofor stated.
It will be recalled that the court had on the last adjourned date, declined to release the embattled IPOB leader on bail pending the determination of the charge against him.
The court maintained that Kanu must explain the reason why he breached the previous bail that was given to him, before he could enjoy another favourable discretion from it.
“Until the issue of the absence of the defendant for his trial, with all the bail conditions breached, is determined, the instant application of the defendant for bail will at best be premature and it is refused.
“However, the defendant is at liberty to refile the application”, Justice Nyako held.
Nevertheless, the court adjourned to rule on an application Kanu filed to challenge the revocation of the bail the court earlier granted to him
He is equally praying the court to set aside the order it made on March 28, 2019, which not only issued a bench warrant for his arrest, but also gave FG the nod to try him in absentia.
The IPOB leader told the court that contrary to FG’s allegation that he jumped bail, he said he fled for his life after his home town at Afaraukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, was invaded by soldiers, which he said led to the death of 28 persons.
He attached eight exhibits that included photographs, as well as an affidavit he deposed to from Isreal after he fled from the country.
However, FG, urged the court to dismiss the application which it said had become academic having been overtaken by events.
Justice Nyako had on April 8, struck out eight out of the 15-count charge FG preferred against Kanu.
FG, in the charge that was sustained by the court, alleged that Kanu had in his broadcast that was received and heard in Nigeria, issued a deadly threat that anyone who flouted his sit-at-home order, should write his/her Will.
It told the court that as a result of the threat, Banks, Schools, Markets, Shopping Malls, Fuel Stations domiciled in the Eastern States of Nigeria, were not opened for businesses, citizens and vehicular movements in the Eastern States of Nigeria were grounded.
It alleged that Kanu had on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria, inciting members of the public to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel and their family members, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
More so, FG, alleged that Kanu, directed members of the IPOB “to manufacture Bombs”.
It told the court that the defendant had between the month of March and April 2015, imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, a Radio Transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items, which he allegedly declared as used household items, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 47 (2) (a) of Criminal Code Act Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.