The Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned the ongoing trial against Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to September 23, 25, and 26, 2024. This decision came after the court failed to properly commence the trial. Justice Binta Nyako made the adjournment following the defense counsel’s request to invoke section 17 of the Federal High Court Act. This section states: “In any proceedings in the Court, the Court may promote reconciliation among the parties thereto and encourage and facilitate the amicable settlement thereof.”

Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyer, Alloy Ejimakor, submitted this argument after the court denied Kanu’s application to quash the remaining seven charges against him. These charges had previously been challenged on the grounds of unconstitutionality. Ejimakor noted that the trial could not proceed as long as Kanu’s right to a fair hearing was in question. He also highlighted that the Department of State Services (DSS) had not fully complied with court orders, alleging that their visits to Kanu were still being bugged.

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Ejimakor further stated that the defendant intended to pursue contempt of court proceedings against the Director-General of the DSS for failing to obey the court’s directive to provide Kanu with a “safe room” (unbugged) space for meetings with his lawyers.

In response to the invocation of section 17 of the High Court Act, the prosecution lawyer, Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, informed the court that he did not have the authority to negotiate with the defendant over the charges. Awomolo suggested that Ejimakor approach the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), who holds the power to negotiate. Justice Nyako echoed this sentiment, indicating that while the court had no issue with the parties discussing negotiations, Kanu should direct his approach to the AGF.

Regarding the applications for contempt of court (Forms 48 and 49) seeking the imprisonment of the DSS boss for allegedly disobeying court orders, Justice Nyako noted that these applications were not currently before her and would be considered once she reviewed the files. However, she reiterated her order for the DSS to provide an unbugged space for Kanu to meet with his lawyers to prepare for trial.

Justice Nyako also instructed the prosecution to file and serve its proof of evidence on the defendant while the defendant should file his defense in anticipation of the next adjourned date. She emphasized the importance of both parties agreeing on undisputed facts and clearly stating objections where necessary.

The trial has been adjourned to September 24, 25, and 26, 2024.

In a related development, Nnamdi Kanu addressed the court and spoke out against the recent killings in the South-East, including the murder of soldiers in Abia State. He reiterated IPOB’s commitment to non-violence and condemned the killings unequivocally. Kanu stated, “I condemn in its entirety all of the killings because IPOB was founded on a non-violent principle, and we maintain that stand. Some of these soldiers, we were told, are also our people, and their families are in mourning right now. So, I condemn all the killings. I don’t want that. We are fighting for freedom, so how can we want violence? We want people to be free. We have suffered a lot in Africa, from slavery in Arabia, Europe, and now slavery in America. This is the time to focus on this continent and be what God wants us to be so that they will know that we know what we are doing.”

Kanu’s remarks underscored his commitment to peace and non-violence, aligning with the principles upon which IPOB was founded. As the trial progresses, the court’s decisions and the actions of the involved parties will continue to be closely watched.