Secret Trial Cancelled,
Media Blackout Cancelled,
Justice Nyako Blasts FG's Failure To Produce Evidence Against Kanu, Others
By Paul Ihechi Alagba
For Family Writers
12th January 2017
The trial of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu and three other Biafran activists who are being held by the Nigeria government on charges of alleged treasonable felon, took a new twist today January 12, 2017 following the cancellation of the controversial secret trial by a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, Nigeria's capital.
The judge presiding over the case, Ms Binta Fatima Nyako made the ruling before the commencement of proceedings for the day. The judge stated that her ruling is based on the strong opposition of the defendants (Nnamdi Kanu and co) against the move by the federal government for a secret trial during the previous court sittings.
Immediately after the judge's pronouncement, the defense counsel to the Nnamdi Kanu , Hon Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor unequivocally urged the court to strike off the charges against his client and order for his release from detention.
"He is only exercising his right to self determination, and has even started his agitation even before the emergence of Muhammadu Buhari as the president of Nigeria," Hon Ejiofor told the honorable court, maintaining that Nnamdi Kanu poses no threat to Nigeria's seat of power.
In furtherance of his case, Barrister Ejiofor drew the attention of the court to a new bail application filed on behalf of the defendants, which is subject to the fact that the charges and accusations levelled against them "lacks merit and basic proof to substantiate their continued illegal detention."
The prosecuting counsel representing the Nigerian government, Hon S.I Labaran immediately objected against the bail application of the defendants, noting that the 1st defendant (Nnamdi Kanu) possesses dual citizenship and may flee the country on his release.
However, the judge, Ms Nyako rebuked the objection of the counsel to the federal government, noting that his evidence is only based on assumption and is not enough to warrant the continued detention of the defendants. Barrister Ejiofor continued and prayed the court to grant an unconditional release to his clients since the Prosecutor lacks evidence to continue with the trial. The other defense counsels also prayed the court to order for the release of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants- Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawusi and Chidiebere Onwudiwe respectively, as the charges against them lacks merit.
Meanwhile, the counsel to the 4th defendant, Hon Barrister Maxwell Okpara raised an alarm, informing the court that his life and the life of the defendant and their family members are being threatened by members of the Department of State Services, DSS. Barrister Okpara informed the court that should anything happen to him or any member of his family, the DSS should be held accountable. He went further to ask the court to order for the release of the 4th defendant, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, as the charges against him has no relationship with that of the other defendants, and cannot be substantiated.
After the withdrawal of Barrister Okpara, Barrister Ejiofor rose and informed the court that the media blackout being imposed on the trial is uncalled for, since the secret trial has been cancelled. The judge upheld his request and assured that some changes will be made on the next court sitting.
The case was however adjourned to February 10, 2017, for a ruling on the bail application and release of the defendants.
The Biafra Herald