Journalism of Courage

Again, Nnamdi Kanu’s trial adjourned till Jan. 19

I don't want to see him in this same dress again, judge tells DSS

 

 

By Ajuma Edwina Ameh

 

The court is expected to sit tomorrow for Kanu to take his plea, after complaining that the federal government failed to promptly serve him the fresh 15-count amended charge brought before the court.

 

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, until Wednesday, January 19.

 

Kanu’s trial was stalled on Tuesday after he objected to the fresh charges brought against him by the federal government.

 

The court is expected to sit tomorrow for Kanu to take his plea, after complaining that the federal government failed to promptly serve him the fresh 15-count amended charge brought before the court.

 

Persecondnews.com reports that the Federal Government had on Monday amended the terrorism charges against the IPOB leader increasing the counts from seven to 15, ahead of the resumed hearing today at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

 

Kanu, through his team of lawyers led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), accused the federal government of denying him the necessary facility to defend the charge against him.

 

According to Ozekhome, the amended charge was served on them, barely 24 hours to the scheduled hearing.

 

He said: “My Lord, the proposed amended charge was served on us yesterday evening. As I speak to you my lord, the Defendant who was just brought in, has not even seen the charge which he is being told to enter his plea.

 

“With due respect, that is not Justice. It is ambushing. I know that the Administration if Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, allows them to amend, but this is the 6th amendment they are making, and each time they do it, they serve us a day to the hearing, just to frustrate the trial.”

 

Addressing journalists after the proceedings, Ozekhome noted: “No one is running from a plea being taken. But the point we made today, which the court appreciated, is that you can’t take plea to counts that have not been given to you.

 

“We were served some minutes to 10:00 am yesterday – a 15-count amended charge for a case coming up today.

 

“I believe that was intended to frustrate today’s proceedings. In any event, that was the 6th time they are amending the charge. Each time they amend, I file a preliminary objection, they go back to the drawing board to re-amend”.

 

On his part, the Prosecution team, led by Mr. Mohammed Labaran from the Federal Ministry of Justice, said he was not opposed to the court granting a short adjournment to enable the defence lawyers to study the charge.

 

However, Justice Binta Nyako, before adjourning the case ordered the Department of State Services, (DSS), to allow Kanu to have a change of cloth.

 

“I don’t want to see him in this cloth again. This one is almost off-white. Also make sure that you allow him to exercise,” he said.

 

 

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