Court fixes date for resumed trial of Nnamdi Kanu
The Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed 26 February for a hearing on the resumed trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Aloy Ejimakor, special counsel to the IPOB leader, disclosed this in a post on his X handle (formerly known as Twitter) on Thursday.
The case which started in 2015 had been put on hold at the Federal High Court in Abuja after the Court of Appeal dismissed the terrorism charges against Mr Kanu in October 2022.
But the Nigerian government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, had appealed the court judgment and subsequently obtained an order at the Supreme Court staying the execution of the judgment
The Supreme Court on 15 December 2023 ordered the continuation of Mr Kanu’s trial on terrorism charges at the Abuja court.
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Mr Ejimakor, in the post on X, said Binta Nyako, the trial judge, will continue presiding over the case.
The lawyer uploaded the hearing notice dated 8 February on the microblogging platform.
“If either party desires to postpone the hearing he must apply to the Court as soon as possible for that purpose; and if the application is based on any matter of fact, he must be prepared to give proof of those facts.
“The parties are warned that at the hearing they are required to bring forward all the evidence by witnesses or by documents which each of them desires to rely on in support of his own case and in contradiction of that of his opponent,” the court said in the hearing notice
It stressed that the evidence will be required at the hearing and that failure of any party to supply their evidence at the time of the hearing might result in the party being restricted or asked to pay to do so.
“Parties desirous to enforce the attendance of witnesses should apply at once to the Court to issue one or more summonses for the attendance of the witnesses required.
“It is indispensable that the application should be made so as to allow time for reasonable notice to the witnesses required.
“If the witness is required to bring books or papers, they must be particularised in the summons sufficiently to enable him to understand what is meant,” the court further said
“Any party summoning a witness through the Court, thereby becomes liable to pay such witness a reasonable sum of money to be fixed by the Court for his expense and loss of time.”
The court added that it might refuse to enforce the attendance of a witness unless the money has been fixed and deposited at the court.
“If either party desires to use in evidence at the hearing any book or document in the possession or power of the other party, he must give the other party reasonable notice in writing to produce it at the hearing, failing which he will not be allowed to give any secondary evidence of its contents,” it stated.
Mr Kanu, the IPOB leader, was first arrested in 2015 under the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Court of Appeal, Abuja, on 13 October 2022, held that the IPOB leader was extra-ordinarily renditioned to Nigeria and that the action was a flagrant violation of the country’s extradition treaty and also a breach of his fundamental human rights.
The court, therefore, struck out the terrorism charges filed against Mr Kanu by the Nigerian government and ordered his release from the facility of the State Security Service.
But the Nigerian government refused to release the IPOB leader, insisting that he (Kanu) could be unavailable in subsequent court proceedings if released and that his release would cause insecurity in the South-east, where he comes from.
The government, through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, later appealed the court ruling and subsequently obtained an order staying the execution of the court judgment at the Supreme Court
Delivering judgment on the appeal on 15 December, the Supreme Court reversed the acquittal granted to Mr Kanu by the lower court and consequently ordered the continuation of his trial at the Federal High Court Abuja.
The resumed trial complies with the order of the Supreme Court.