Nnamdi Kanu’s trial adjourned till Jan 19 after lawyers stage walkout - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE

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Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Nnamdi Kanu’s trial adjourned till Jan 19 after lawyers stage walkout

By Our Correspondent



A federal high court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), till January 19 after lawyers of the defendant walked out of the courtroom.


Kanu’s lawyers walked out of the court in protest over the refusal of the DSS to allow some other lawyers in the team to gain access to the courtroom, including Bruce Fein, Kanu’s lawyer from the US.


The IPOB leader was on October 26 re-arraigned on a seven-count charge bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.


Accompanied by heavy security, Kanu arrived at the court premises at 8:10 am.


He was brought into the courtroom at 9:52 am shortly after Binta Nyako, the judge, commenced sitting.


When the case was called, Mohammed Abubakar, announced appearance for the prosecution. However, the defence team led by Ifeanyi Ejiofor was not around.


Speaking from the dock after his case was called, the IPOB leader told the court that his team of lawyers were protesting the denial of access to Fein (his US lawyer).


“I have an ongoing case in the US and I have not been allowed to see him. He is here to see me and to observe the proceedings. He has been to the DSS to see me, but they denied him access to me,” Kanu said.


Asked by the judge, if he was ready to conduct the proceedings himself, in the absence of his lawyers, Kanu said no.


Making his submission, Abubakar, the federal government’s counsel, asked the court to proceed with the trial in the absence of Kanu’s lawyers.


He said Kanu’s pending application which is challenging the court’s jurisdiction and competency of the charge, should be deemed abandoned.


“Having decided to stage a walk-out on the court, I urge My Lord to dismiss the defendant’s pending applications,” Abubakar said.


However, in a short ruling, the judge dismissed the prosecution’s oral application.


“Staging a walkout on the court is a very serious offence,” Nyako said.


“I will not dismiss the applications. Let them be in the case file. But discuss with your lawyers so that their attitude can change,” she told Kanu.


Nyako also reprimanded Heather Wilkir, a British envoy who said she had written the chief judge of the federal high court, seeking his consent to attend the trial.


“If you need to observe proceedings in my court, you must apply to me. But for the high respect I have for my chief judge, I will allow you for today,” the judge said.


Thereafter, the judge adjourned the matter until January 19 and 20 for continuation.


Kanu was arrested abroad and returned to Nigeria after he jumped bail and fled the country in 2017.