IPOB: Defence legal team challenge FG to produce Kanu in Court

The lawyers to the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu on Wednesday warned that the Federal Government must produced Kanu today in Court .

The leader of the team, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who gave the warning during a press conference ahead of Kanu’s re-arraignment said the Federal Government “must produce” Kanu in court  before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Other members of Kanu’s legal team at Wednesday’s press briefing included Alloy Ejimakor, Maxwell Okpara and Bruce Fein, IPOB lawyer in the United States. 

“That tomorrow, being  October 21 2021, should be sacrosanct. Our client — Mazi Nnamdi Kanu must and shall be produced in court to face his trial”, Ejiofor said.

Ejiofor told journalists that the defence outcry over federal government desire to delay trial and keep Kanu in detention, became necessary because since June when Kanu was detained the federal government has being paying lip service on the case. 

According to him, despite the issuance of a fiat by the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, for Kanu’s trial to be held during the court’s annual vacation, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, deliberately stayed away from the court.

Ejiofor said that the regular Monday sit-at-order in South East Nigeria was being observed “because people are yet to see and believe that Nnamdi Kanu is still alive.”

He recalled the alleged arrest and detention of over 20 indigenes of Ebonyi State who had travelled to the Federal High Court in Abuja to witness Kanu’s trial on July 26.

Ejiofor appealed to security operatives to allow lawyers and journalists to attend the IPOB leader’s trial on Thursday.

He said, “The show of shame openly demonstrated by the overzealous security agents on July 26, 2021, should never repeat itself.”

 During the last proceedings, journalists and lawyers were manhandled, while Kanu who is being held by the Department of State State Services was not brought to court, a development that was blamed on “logistical issues” by the prosecuting lawyer, Mohammed Abubakar.

Ejiofor on Wednesday also told IPOB supporters, “You all must remain civil and be of good conduct as you have always been” adding that “not everyone would be able to access the court room.”
He also described Kanu’s arrest in Kenya on June 19, 2021, and appearance in Nigeria on June 29, 2021 as persecution.

Last week, the Federal Government slammed an amended seven-count charge against Kanu, while the FHC issued a hearing notice for Thursday, October 21.

The Noice titled: ‘Federal Republic of Nigeria Versus Nnamdi Kanu with suit number: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/15, was served on Ejiofor and the prosecuting lawyer, Shuaibu Labaran.

Justice Nyako said in a fresh directive that the case would be “transferred from the General Cause List to the hearing paper for Thursday October 21 2021at 9 o’clock forenoon and will come on to be on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjustment day of which you will receive no further Notice.
“If either party desires to postpone the hearing, he must apply to the court as soon as possible for that purpose and if the application is based on any matter of fact, he must be prepared to give proof of those facts.
“The parties are warned that at the hearing, they are required to bring forward all the evidence by witnesses or by documents which each of them desires to rely on in support of his own case and in contradiction of that of his opponent.
“The proof will be required at the hearing and not on a subsequent day, and parties failing to bring their evidence forward at the proper time may find themselves absolutely precluded from adducing it at all, or at best only allowed to do so on payment of substantial costs to the other side, and on such other terms as the court deems fits to impose.
“Parties desirous to enforce the attendance of witnesses should apply at once to the court to issue one or more summonses for the attendance of the witnesses required.
“It is indispensable that the application should be made so as to allow time for reasonable notice to the witnesses required.
“If the witness is required to bring books or papers, they must be particularized in the summons sufficiently to enable him to understand what is meant.
”Any party summoning a witness through the court thereby becomes liable to pay such witness reasonable sum of money to be fixed by the court for his expense and loss of time.
“The Court may refuse to enforce the attendance of a witness unless such sum has been fixed and deposited in the court.
“If either party desires to use in evidence at the hearing, any book or document in the possession or power of the other party, he must give the other party, reasonable notice in writing to produce It at the hearing, failing which he will not be allowed to give any secondary evidence of its contents.”
Kanu is being tried on charges of treasonable felony.
The separatist, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military in September, a situation one of Kanu’s lawyers, Alloy Ejimakor described as the “rule of self-preservation.”
Nyako, subsequently revoked his bail for ditching his trial and also ordered his trial to be separated from the rest of the co-defendants.
While the trial of the rest of the defendants has made some progress, Kanu’s case has been stalled since 2017.
On June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced that Mr Kanu had been rearrested and extradited to Nigeria to continue facing his trial.
He said the IPOB leader was “intercepted” days earlier but did not disclose which country and how the operation was carried out.
Although there has been no official disclosure about where and how Kanu was arrested, relatives and lawyers of the IPOB leader, have described how he was taken into custody in Kenya under controversial circumstances.