Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) wednesday rejected the ongoing trial of its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, saying it had been turned into secret trial.
IPOB’s position was based on its review of what happened at the high court on Tuesday in continuation of Kanu’s trial on treasonable felony charges.
In a statement issued by IPOB’s Head of Media and Publicity, Emma Powerful, the separatist group said the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho “has now effectively instituted secret trial because the public were barred from attending the hearing” (while) only a handful of journalists were permitted to cover proceedings.
“This is against an earlier court ruling that the trial will be held in the open.”
The group pointed out that the trial judge has made it a point of duty to reverse himself on the ruling earlier made in the course of Kanu’s trial, citing the permission of the lawyer of the Department of State Service (DSS), who was initially barred from appearing as prosecution counsel.
According to IPOB, the DSS lawyer, identified as Idakwo, who was “the lead interrogator” of Kanu and his co-detainees while in DSS, has now “surprisingly” been allowed to join the prosecuting team headed by Mr. Mohammed Labaran.
“The DSS is now the arresting agency; they detain, they interrogate, they investigate and now they are also running the prosecution in a court of law for the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation through the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution,” IPOB lamented.
The pro-Biafra organisation insisted that “there is nowhere in the civilizsed world that such levels of criminal absurdity in the dispensation of justice is allowed to obtain,” adding that “it is worth noting that the same DSS are the ones stopping the public from entering the court room contrary to the ruling of this same Justice Tsoho.”
IPOB noted that the trial judge “has now been stumbling from one calamitous mistake to another by turning against his own ruling thereby making “so many mistakes in his quest to please his master, President Buhari, that chose him for this hatchet job.”
Meanwhile IPOB has reiterated that it has officially dropped Mr. Vincent Obetta as the lead counsel in the defence team representing the director of Radio Biafra and his co-accused in the treason trial.
A statement dated April 4, 2016, signed by the head directorate of state affairs, Mazi Uchenna Asiegbu said that IPOB “terminated the services of Vincent Obetta on 19th January 19, 2016 on the ground that he was no longer capable of handling such high profile matter and that his conduct was unbecoming of a professional legal practitioner.”
In his place Chief Chuks Muoma, SAN, was named as the lead counsel in the team of 17 lawyers with Ifeanyi Ejiofor as the lead attorney to Kanu, the IPOB leader.