Nnamdi Kanu’s trial adjourned till Jan 19 after lawyers stage walkout

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Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday adjourned till January 19 the trial of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

But there was confusion as Kanu’s team of lawyers staged a walk-out over the refusal of operatives of the Department of State Services to allow some of them to gain access into the courtroom.

Kanu, who was brought into the courtroom around 9.52am, had shortly after his case was called up bemoaned the refusal of security agents to allow some members of his legal team, especially his lawyer from the United State of America, Bruce Fein, to enter the courtroom.

He told Justice Nyako that Fein, who was handling a case for him in the US, was around to witness his trial.

“I have an ongoing case in the US. I have not been allowed to see him. He is here to see me and to observe the proceedings.

“He has been to the DSS to see me, but they denied him access to me,” Kanu stated from the dock.

When asked by the Judge, if he was ready to conduct the proceedings himself, in the absence of his lawyers, Kanu said no.

Making his submission, Abubakar, the federal government’s counsel, asked the court to proceed with the trial in the absence of Kanu’s lawyers.

He said Kanu’s pending application which is challenging the court’s jurisdiction and competency of the charge, should be deemed abandoned.

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“Having decided to stage a walk-out on the court, I urge My Lord to dismiss the defendant’s pending applications,” Abubakar said.

However, in a short ruling, the judge dismissed the prosecution’s oral application.

“Staging a walkout on the court is a very serious offence,” Nyako said.

“I will not dismiss the applications. Let them be in the case file. But discuss with your lawyers so that their attitude can change,” she told Kanu.

Nyako also reprimanded Heather Wilkir, a British envoy who said she had written the chief judge of the federal high court, seeking his consent to attend the trial.

“If you need to observe proceedings in my court, you must apply to me. But for the high respect I have for my chief judge, I will allow you for today,” the judge said.

Thereafter, the judge adjourned the matter until January 19 and 20 for continuation.

Kanu was arrested abroad and returned to Nigeria after he jumped bail and fled the country in 2017.

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