An Abuja Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday ordered officials of the Department of State Security (DSS) to produce the owner of Radio Biafra and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, unfailingly before the court on Monday, November 23 to answer criminal charges brought against him by the federal government.
Kanu is standing trial for alleged criminal conspiracy, managing and belonging to an unlawful society with the purpose of bringing into being the defunct secessionist Republic of Biafra, and criminal intimidation contrary to Section 97, 97B and 397 of the penal code.
Chief Magistrate Shuaibu Usman gave the order following the absence of the accused in court when the trial was to commence, as the DSS failed to bring Kanu to court, despite an earlier order made by the court on October 23 to that effect.
Usman said no trial could continue in a criminal case in the absence of the accused, stressing that the only condition that could make a court to excuse the absence of an accused had not come up.
Earlier before Usman’s ruling, the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Moses Idakwo that the accused person was not brought to court because ordinary application challenging the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Court to continue the trial was slated for hearing.
Idakwo told the court that as soon as the motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court has been resolved, the DSS will now produce the accused by the court.
The Magistrate, however, reminded the prosecutor that on October 23, he made an order that the accused must at all time be brought to court throughout the trial.
Apart from the absence of the accused in court that stalled the trial, two legal practitioners, Mr. Gabriel Egbule and Vincent Ezechukwu Obete, engaged themselves in war of words in the open court on the issue of which side was the authentic lawyer to the accused person.
Egbule who first announced his appearance for the accused person, informed the court that he represented the accused person on October 19 when he was first arraigned and that he was ready to continue to defend the accused person.
He produced a letter claimed to have been written to him by the next of kin of the accused person appointing him as lawyer to the accused person.
In his own, Vincent Obete, produced a letter from the Indigenous People of Biafra, signed by the deputy director, Alphonsus Mefor, appointing him as lawyer.
Besides, Vincent Obete also produced another letter, dated October 16 from the father of the accused person, Eze Kanu of Afara-Ukwu kingdom, also appointing him as a counsel to defend his son.
Magistrate Usman who intervened in the issue said that on October 19 when Kanu was brought before him, the accused told the court that he had no lawyer prompting Mr. Gabriel Egbule to fill the gap
He however told the two lawyers that the accused person would on Monday November 23, determine his own lawyer.
The Street Journal recalls that Kanu was also alleged to have appointed himself Commander of the Loyal Forces of Biafra and was broadcasting to the whole world the dire consequences the government and people of Nigeria will suffer should they attempt to hinder the actualization of the Republic of Biafra.