Breaking: Nnamdi Kanu in Court as Trial Commences

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By Alex Enumah

The leader of the Indegenious People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, is present in court as his trial over alleged terrorism and treasonable felony commence Thursday morning in Abuja.

The federal government, last week, filed an amended seven-count criminal charge against Kanu, upon which he is to be re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Kanu and four others were arraigned in 2016 on a six-count criminal charge but abandoned his trial in 2017 after his family’s house was attacked.

He was however re-arrested and brought to the country to continue his trial in June, this year.

Kanu, who is appearing in court for the second time since his extradition in June was wearing a white Fendi designers clothe and was ushered into the courtroom at exactly 10am by security operatives.

Meanwhile, as the trial gets underway, journalists covering the court, although allowed entry into the court premises, were however prevented from entering the court room.

The judiciary correspondents, in a bid to give a detailed coverage of the proceedings, had got to the court as early as 6am to ensure easy access which has proven abortive.

This was despite the fact that the journalists had forwarded their names to the court and the Department of State Services (DSS) for coverage of the proceedings.

At the last adjournment on July 27, there was altercation between the operatives of the DSS and journalists following their refusal to allow journalists access to cover the proceedings.

One of the DSS operatives, whose identity could not be ascertained, had claimed that they are awaiting directives from the trial judge, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, on how many journalists should be allowed to go in and cover the proceedings.

One of the DSS operatives, who addressed journalists at the entrance of Court 2, the courtroom where the proceedings is taking place, said: ”The instruction we have is that journalists should stay in their press centre from where they would be screened to go in to cover the proceedings after getting clearance from Justice Nyako, the trial judge.”

While the trial was going on in the 5th floor, journalists were not allowed to move out of their press centre.

As at the time of filing this report, no journalist has been allowed into the courtroom.

Aside journalists, lawyers with the exception of Kanu’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, were denied access into the courtroom.

Also prevented from witnessing the proceedings are representatives of the apex Igbo socio-cultural group, Ohaneze Ndigbo.

The representatives were led by former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife.

Details later…