Trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, at a Federal High Court in Abuja resumed yesterday without the accused in court.
Also, the federal government filed a counter-affidavit opposing Kanu’s application to be transferred from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) to Kuje Correctional Service Center.
When the matter came in at about 11am, counsel representing parties in the matter announced their appearance.
Counsel to the federal government, Mr M. B. Abubakar, told the court that the case is for hearing and that the defendant has not yet been produced by the DSS.
He, however, urged the court to proceed without a fiat taking into consideration that the court has commenced vacation and Justice Binta Nyako was not one of the vacation judges.
Responding, Kanu’s lawyer, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, informed the court that he filed a motion seeking the transfer of Kanu from DSS custody to correctional center.
Justice Murtala-Nyako however held that Kanu’s trial cannot proceed in his absence having been arrested and brought into the country.
She insisted that Kanu must be physically brought to court since he is now available to face trial.
The court urged the prosecution to ensure that Kanu be brought to court to witness his trial.
The case has been adjourned to October 21.
The federal government in the counter-affidavit told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that Kanu is being investigated for offences committed after he jumped bail.
The government argued that the Kanu committed offences bordering on national security.
The counter-affidavit reads in part; “That there is ongoing investigation as to other offences committed by the defendant/applicant while jumping bail.
“That the alleged offences bordered on national security.
“That transferring the defendant/applicant to the Correctional facility will jeopardize the investigation of the offences.
“That the defendant/applicant does not place anything before this Honourable Court that suggests the medical facility available at the DSS detention is not capable of handling his health issues.
“That the defendant/applicant’s application is capable of delaying the proceedings in this case”, read the counter-affidavit that was deposed to by one Loveme Odubo, a litigation officer in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Kanu, in the application he filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, decried that he has been denied access to his medical doctors.
He said he might die in the custody of the DSS if nothing was done to urgently address his deteriorating health condition.
He specifically applied for an order of the trial court, “directing the transfer of the Applicant from the custody of the National Headquarters of the State Security Service to the Nigerian Correctional Service Centre in Kuje, Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court, where he was initially detained before he was granted bail, pending the determination of the charge”.
As well as, “An order of this court directing the Defendant/Applicant’s custodian, to grant access to his medical experts/doctors to carry out a comprehensive independent medical examination of the defendant/applicant’s health condition/status, while in custody.”
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