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Federal Court Threatens Indefinite Adjournment in Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial

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ABUJA, Nigeria – In a tense session at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, Justice Binta Nyako warned that the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, could be adjourned indefinitely.

The statement came after Kanu’s defense team indicated their unpreparedness to proceed with the trial.

The potential indefinite postponement surfaced when Kanu’s lawyer, Aloy Ejimakor, informed the court that the defense was not ready to move forward.

This declaration came in stark contrast to the readiness claimed by the prosecution, led by Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, who was prepared to commence based on previous court directives.

Justice Nyako, addressing the readiness of both sides, also reviewed two critical applications from Ejimakor.

The first sought to restore Kanu’s bail, revoked in 2017, while the second requested the transfer of the IPOB leader to house arrest.

Ejimakor defended his motions by pointing out that the bail was revoked following an invasion of Kanu’s home by the prosecution, a situation that led Kanu to flee, which he argued was not a bail violation but a matter of personal safety.

Ejimakor further claimed, “The Supreme Court agreed that Kanu did not jump bail but only escaped for his dear life.”

He highlighted ongoing issues regarding access to his client, stating that Kanu’s legal team had faced restrictions that hampered their ability to consult with him and adequately prepare his defense.

In response, Awomolo urged the court to disregard Ejimakor’s claims, arguing that the court was “functus officio” and lacked the jurisdiction to overturn the previous revocation.

He emphasized that Kanu faced terrorism charges, which he described as the most severe under Nigerian law.

Awomolo also contested the application for house arrest, suggesting that Ejimakor’s concerns lacked concrete evidence and insisting that documented visits by counsel to Kanu were proof of access.

As the debate intensified, Justice Nyako scheduled May 20 for her ruling on the applications but pressed for the trial to proceed immediately.

However, Ejimakor’s insistence on the defense’s unpreparedness led to a tense moment where Justice Nyako threatened an indefinite adjournment.

She later granted a brief recess, allowing Ejimakor ten minutes to consult with Kanu and determine if the trial could proceed.

The courtroom drama underscores the complexities and tensions surrounding the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, a figure central to the Biafran independence movement and a focal point of significant legal and political debate in Nigeria.

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