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Kanu To Remain In DSS Custody As His Absence Stalls Trial

Nnamdi Kanu

July 26, (THEWILL) – The trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, has been adjourned till October 21, after the Department of State Services (DSS) failed to bring him to the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court ordered that Kanu should remain in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) despite a request to transfer him to Kuje Correctional Centre.

Justice Nyako gave the order on Monday during the resumption of Kanu’s trial in Abuja.

In an application to the Judge, Kanu’s lawyer had argued that the detainee could not get a fair trial remaining in the custody of the DSS.

He also sought an order to grant him access to his medical doctor for the purpose of carrying out a comprehensive independent medical examination on him.

In her verdict, Justice Nyako ordered that the DSS should allow access to Mr Kanu, although it won’t be a free-for-all.

His trial was scheduled to start Monday in Nigeria’s capital Abuja with many journalists barred from entering the courtroom, a move that was condemned as restrictive by rights groups.

Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr M. B. Abubakar, told the court that the case is for hearing and that Defendant has not yet been produced by the Department of State Service (DSS).

He, however, urged the court to proceed, taking into consideration that the court had commenced vacation and Justice Binta Nyako was not one of the vacation judges.

In his response, Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said he had filed a motion seeking the transfer of Kanu from DSS custody to a correctional centre.

Justice Murtala-Nyako on her part held that the trial cannot proceed in the absence of Kanu, having been arrested and brought into the country.

She insisted that Kanu must physically be brought to court since he is now available to face his trial.

The court however adjourned till October 21, and urged the Prosecution to ensure that Kanu be brought to court to witness his trial.