The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has fixed January 27, 2021, for the continuation of the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Naija News reports that Kanu’s trial was earlier fixed for hearing today, November 26 but when it was called, both Kanu and his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor were absent in court.
Mr E. Ejiofor, a lawyer in a sister case, informed the court that the lawyer of the IPO leader had asked him to draw the attention of the court to a letter he wrote explaining why he was absent in court.
Kanu’s lawyer in the letter explained that he got the information for the new date of November 26 on November 25, adding that he had travelled out of Abuja, and would not be able to travel back immediately to attend court because of the short notice.
Apparently displeased with the excuse, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, the prosecuting counsel, however, raised an objection to the letter saying it was dated November 24, meanwhile the lawyer said he got information about the new date on November 25.
“The letter predates the information from the registrar concerning the date for the matter. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead the court and I object to it and ask the court to disregard it,” Labaran said.
The prosecuting counsel added that there has been a consistent and deliberate attempt to frustrate the continuation of the case by the defence counsel, noting that in the absence of the defence lawyer, the prosecution would be compelled to ask for an adjournment but with cost to the defendant.
After listening to the lawyers, Justice Binta Nyako, the trial judge, adjourned the matter until January 27, 2021, saying it “would go on even if the defence counsel was absent on that date.” The trial judge also said that cost would be determined at the end of the trial.
In a related development, the trial of Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi was adjourned until Jan. 27 due to their absence in court.
Naija News recalls that Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi were co-defendants with Kanu but in order to speed up the trial, the court made an order separating their trial from that of the IPOB leader.
Mr F.K Kamagan, E. Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara, the counsel to the defendants, told the court that their clients were absent in court because they were out of Abuja and they received information of the new date on Nov. 25.