What must be done before I’ll face trial, Kanu tells court

IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, listed conditions he said must be met before he would submit himself to face the treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him.

Kanu, at the resumed proceedings on the matter at the Federal High Court in Abuja, said he would not oppose the acceleration of his trial once the conditions he enumerated were fulfilled.

Addressing the court through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Aloy Ejimakor, the IPOB leader demanded the restoration of the bail that was earlier granted to him by the court.

He maintained that his continued detention in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, has hampered his ability to effectively prepare his defense to all the allegations the FG leveled against him.

Kanu contended that his bail was erroneously revoked by the court based on a false and fraudulent misrepresentation of facts by FG.

Insisting that he never violated any of his bail conditions prior to the time that security agents invaded his home, Kanu, urged the court to set aside the warrant of arrest that was subsequently issued against him over the false claim that he jumped bail and escaped from the country.

The embattled IPOB leader, who has been in detention since June 29, 2021, equally demanded to be granted unhindered access to his lawyers as required by law.

Alternatively, Kanu, in another application, prayed the court to order that he should be transferred from the custody of the DSS to either prison or be placed on a house arrest.

However, FG, through its team of lawyers led by Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, asked the court to reject the conditions on the ground that they are frivolous, vexatious, irritating and baseless.

FG argued that the trial court had earlier rejected a fresh bail application that was filed by the defendant.

It argued that since the bail request was dismissed, the trial court longer had the requisite jurisdiction to revisit the matter as it would amount to sitting on appeal to overrule its own decision.

Awomolo, SAN, insisted that the only option open to Kanu was for him to take the issue before the Court of Appeal.

More so, FG argued that it was not in the position of the defendant to dictate how his trial should be conducted or to list conditions the court must met before he would be tried.

It, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the applications as frivolous and time wasting.

After she had listened to both sides, trial Justice Binta Nyako fixed May 20 to rule on the matter.

Justice Nyako however asked Kanu to choose between having his trial adjourned sine-die (indefinitely) or to allow FG to open its case by calling the first witness to mount the box.

It will be recalled that Kanu was first arrested in Lagos on October 14, 2015, upon his return to the country from the United Kingdom, UK.

Justice Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health ground, after he had spent about 18 months in detention.

Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison.

However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his country home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the death of some of his followers.

Kanu was later re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021 and extraordinarily renditioned back to the country by security agents on June 27, 2021.

Following the development, the trial court, on June 29, 2021, remanded him in custody of DSS, where he remained till date.

On April 8, 2022, the court struck out eight out of the 15-count charge that FG preferred against him on the premise that they lacked substance.

Likewise, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s immediate release from detention even as it quashed the charge against him.

The appellate court said it was satisfied that FG flagrantly violated all known laws, when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.

It held that such arbitrary use of power by the Nigerian government, divested the trial court of the jurisdiction to further try the Appellant.

Dissatisfied with the decision, FG took the matter before the Supreme Court, even as it persuaded the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgement, pending the determination of its appeal.

While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court, on December 15, 2023, vacated the judgement of the appellate court and gave FG the nod to try the IPOB leader on the subsisting seven-count charge.

Justice Nyako had earlier expressed her displeasure over how the trial had been conducted since 2015.

“This is exactly the way this case has been going since 2015. I am talking to both sides. You always find a way to truncate the proceedings,” the trial judge fumed.

Culled from Vanguard