Nnamdi Kanu To Be Tried Separately From Other Defendants
Nnamdi Kanu’s trial is still on but the case seems to have remained stalled, since the self-styled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) went into hiding late last year.
While Mr Kanu's present location has remained unknown, the court has taken a new decision about his trial.
On Tuesday, a Federal High Court in Abuja granted an application by the prosecuting counsel, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, that Mr Kanu’s charges be separated from that of other defendants, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi.
Labaran told the court that since Kanu’s absence was frustrating proceedings in the matter, justice would be better served if the charges were separated so that the case of the three defendants in court could go on.
“In view of the court granting the application to severe the charge of the first defendant from the others, we shall be asking for a short adjournment to enable us tidy our processes and for the records of the court to be neater,” he said.
Justice Binta Nyako handling the case granted the application, hinging her decision on the fact that the defendants did not object the request.
After Kanu’s charges were separated, the counsel to Benjamin Madubugwu, Mr PAN Ejiofor, requested that the court should grant his client bail to enable him seek medical attention.
The judge turned down the request, saying she was not disposed to grant bail to any of the other defendants.
She, however, advised the counsel to liaise with the prison authorities saying if they agreed to attach a warden to the defendant, she would make an order allowing him to go to any government hospital.
The judge also ordered Mr Kanu’s counsel, to produce him in court on March 28, or for his sureties to explain his whereabouts.
Kanu was admitted to bail on April 25, 2017 and the Chairman, South East Senate caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, a Jewish High Chief Priest, Immanuu-El Shalom and a Chartered Accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu signed his bail bond.
The IPOB leader and his co-defendants are standing trial on a five -count charge of felony, unlawful possession of firearms and unlawful assembly among others.
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He had disappeared after the military launched operation Python Dance (Egwu Eke II) in Abia state to quell criminal activities an agitations for secession.
Kanu has, however, not appeared in court since his bail and his counsel, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor repeatedly told the court that his client was in the custody of the Nigerian Army, an allegation the army has denied.
After issuing the order, she adjourned hearing of the other defendants case until March 20.