By Taiye Agbaje
Abuja, Jan. 18, 2022
A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, adjourned the re-arraignment of the Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, until Wednesday over the delay by the prosecution to serve the defence with the amended charge.
Justice Binta Nyako fixed the date after Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, opposed the plan to re-arraign his client on fresh 15-count charge following the late service of the application.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the AGF had, on Monday, filed fresh charges bordering on terrorism against the IPOB leader.
The new charge was increased from seven counts earlier preferred against him on Oct. 20, 2021.
When the matter was called, Labaran informed the court about the amended charge and prayed that the counts be read to the defendant for him to take his plea.
But Ozekhome objected, saying that the application was served on them late yesterday (Monday).
He argued that since the last adjourned date on Dec. 2, 2021, the prosecution failed to serve the defence the amended charge until Monday (Jan. 17).
He noted that though the prosecution had filed at least six amended charges in the course of the case, they were in the habit of serving the applications late in order to frustrate proceedings.
The senior lawyer said the team of lawyers had not had the time to meet with their client on the new development.
He urged the court to adjourn the matter until the next day so as to give the defendant adequate time and facility to defend himself in accordance with the provision of the law.
The AGF’s lawyer did not oppose Ozekhome’s request.
Justice Nyako fixed Wednesday for the re-arraignment.
The Federal Government had on Monday, filed the fresh charges against the detained Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), in the amended application, it filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, increased the counts from seven to 15 counts.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), M. B. Abubakar.
The IPOB leader, who has been facing a seven-count treasonable felony charge, is expected to enter his fresh plea to a 15-count on Jan. 19 when the matter will be coming up for hearing.
NAN reports that the court had on Dec. 2, 2021, fixed Tuesday to hear some pending applications filed by the prosecution and the defence.
Chief Ozekhome is renowned civil rights lawyer and pro-democracy activists and his entry into the Nnamdi Kanu case as lead counsel excited Kanu as well as all who were in court and is expected to add a new dimension to the case.
Lawyers, journalists and others who wanted to be part of the trial had a hard time getting into the court as security agents tightened security around the court room and screening was rigorous and time consuming.