Court Refuses to Transfer Nnamdi Kanu Out of DSS’ Custody 

Alex Enumah in Abuja 

Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, refused to order the release of the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Kanu, who has been in DSS’ custody since 2021 when he was rearrested and brought to continue his trial, argued that he cannot prepare adequately for his trial while been held by the secret service.

In an application argued last month, the defendant asked the court to restore his bail which was revoked in 2019, or order that he be kept under house arrest.

Delivering ruling in the application on Monday, Justice Nyako declined the request, just as she expressed confidence that the DSS’ custody is the proper place for the defendant.

The judge, in addition, refused to set aside the court’s earlier order revoking his bail in 2019, adding that the Supreme Court’s judgment was silent on Kanu’s bail in the lead judgment delivered by Justice Emmanuel Agim.

However, the judge ordered the DSS to provide the applicant with a clean room where he can meet with his lawyers, who must not be more than five at a time.

Meanwhile, the judge threatened not to take any further application regarding the issues resolved as an abuse of court process because she had repeatedly decided on them.

Meanwhile, there was a mild drama when Kanu, rising from the dock objected to his continued trial before the court. 

The angry IPOB leader informed Justice Nyako that his continued trial is illegal and unconstitutional as it violates international treaties Nigeria freely entered into.

He claimed Section 2 of the Terrorism Prevention Act forbids his trial in any court in Nigeria, adding that those who are trying him are “terrorists”.

“My Lord, I don’t understand why my trial is being conducted contrary to the provision of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Kanu said. 

While insisting that the Supreme Court had made a pronouncement on his case, the IPOB leader submitted that: “Anything you do on the contrary is an act of terrorism. 

“This man is a terrorist for conducting a trial in violation of an international treaty that Nigeria entered into. Once a treaty is entered into and signed, it becomes a law. 

“You are a dishonest man. You are a terrorist,” Kanu shouted at prosecution lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN).

He stated further that Awomolo as current Chairman of the Body of Benchers ought to uphold the constitution and refrain from trying him.

Faulting his trial further, Kanu, who read from a portion of Justice Nyako’s previous ruling from a document at his disposal, argued that until the court investigates the circumstances that led to his fleeing from Nigeria, it was wrong to refuse to grant him bail, adding that: “My lord, you have not investigated.”

He submitted that contrary to claims that he jumped bail, agents of the Federal Government forced him to flee for his life after they attacked his father’s house.

Although, his lawyers led by Mr Alloy Ejimakor earlier told the court that though they were not happy with the court’s ruling they would however abide by it.

He stated that while the defence is not asking for an adjournment, “the conditions that prevented their meetings with the defendant still prevail to this morning. We are not ready for trial, we might be ready at the next adjournment.”

Subsequently, Justice Nyako adjourned till June 19 and 20, for trial.

Kanu was arrested on October 14, 2015 and was arraigned alongside four others on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods, among others.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was in 2017, admitted to bail in the sum of N100 billion with three sureties in like sum. The court in addition held that one of the sureties must be a religious leader.

However, a few months after he was admitted to bail on health grounds, Kanu fled the country in September 2017 after the military invaded his family’s home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State.

The situation led the Federal Government to apply for the revocation of his bail, which was granted in 2019 by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja. Besides, the court ordered for the arrest of the IPOB leader, wherever he may be found.

Based on the court’s order, a combined security agents in collaboration with international police, arrested Kanu and forcefully brought him back to Nigeria, to continue his trial.

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