Pro-Biafra Leader Refuses To Take Plea In Court

The leader of a pro-Biafra group in Nigeria, Ingenious People Of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, has refused to take plea in court, protesting his trial before Justice Mohammed Ahmed of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Kanu, who is the founder of a pirate radio, Radio Biafra, refused to take plea on a six-count charge bordering on treason, importation of illegal goods and possession offire arms filed against him by the Department of State Services (DSS) on the ground that he would not get fair trial.

Lack Of Confidence In The processThe pro-Biafra leader, standing trial with two others, told the court that he lacked confidence in the court because information available to him indicated that he would not get a fair trial.

“I will not sacrifice due process of the law founded on the principles of natural justice on the altar of speedy release from detention,” Mr Kanu said.

A week after a Federal High Court granted him bail, Mr Kanu, the leader of the IPOB, who remains in the custody of the DSS, was brought to court.Shortly after his arrival, Mr Kanu and his co-accused were docked, but his trial could not commence, as he protested his arraignment before Justice Ahmed, opting to remain in detention, even after a court had earlier granted him bail.

Reacting to Mr Kanu’s protest the Director of Public Prosecution Mr Mohammed Diri, asked the court to discountenance the objection on the ground that the accused person ought to come before the court with a proper application.

He argued that such a protest could only be made after an accused person had taken his plea.

In a short ruling, Justice Ahmed agreed with the accused person’s protest, especially as it borders on the issue of confidence in a judicial process.

Justice Mohammed said that since the confidence of the court had been questioned he would return the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for further action.

Shortly after the proceedings, however, Mr Kanu got into an altercation with some officials of the DSS for denying him an opportunity to speak with his lawyer.

Counsel to Mr Kanu, Mr Vincent Obetta hintedthat he would continue to pursue the release of his client on the orders of the court.

He had on Tuesday decried the continued detention of his client by the DSSeven after aFederal High Court had granted him bail.

For now Mr Kanu and other accused persons will have to wait for the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign his case to another Judge.


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