Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu seeks negotiation with Nigerian govt

Biafra: Nnamdi Kanu seeks negotiation with Nigerian govt

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday hinted at exploiting the process of an out-of-court settlement in the alleged treasonable felony charge brought against him by the Federal Government.

Kanu made the disclosure at his resumed trial before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The detained IPOB leader had been in the custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, since 2021, when he was re-arrested and brought back to continue his trial on alleged treasonable felony.

The court had last month refused to release him from custody on grounds that the secret service custody is the proper place for the defendant to be remanded during the trial.

In declining Kanu's application, the court had ordered the DSS to grant Kanu unfettered access to his lawyers and fixed June 19, for commencement of trial.

However, when the matter was called on Wednesday, his lead lawyer, Mr Ejimakor Aloy, informed the court that the secret service was yet to fully comply with the orders of the court as their visit to Kanu was still being monitored.

He stated that the defendant had resolved to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the Director General of the DSS for refusing to obey orders directing the Service to grant him a "safe room" for meeting with his lawyers.

Ejimakor in addition urged the court to on its own invoke Section 17 of the Federal High Court Act, which he said, provides for "reconciliation" and facilitation of amicable settlement in criminal or civil matters.

He claimed that he had sometimes ago discussed the proposition with counsel to the Federal Government, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, adding that the senior lawyer had responded by saying that the proper time for such issue had not come.

Responding, Awomolo informed the court that he does not have the instruction of his client to embark on any negations with the defendant over the charge.

"I told him to go to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) who has the power. If he is interested in negotiating he should go there, his office is just here," Awomolo said.

However, trial judge who observed that the court has no problem if the parties want to discuss negotiation, urged Kanu to approach the AGF, who is the proper person to negotiate with.

On the issue of Forms 48 and 49, seeking the imprisonment of the DSS boss for allegedly disobeying the court's orders, Justice Nyako held that both applications were not before her, adding that the matter would be looked into when she sees the file.

Nyako, however, ordered the Service to provide an "unbugged space" for Kanu to meet with his lawyers each time they were at the facility to prepare for trial.

The unbugged space, according to her, refers to a garden within the DSS premises where Kanu and his lawyers could discuss without being heard by the operatives of the Service.

Meanwhile, Justice Nyako also dismissed a fresh application by Kanu challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15 for being unconstitutional.

The court held that it cannot over rule itself on issues it had already resolved, adding that the only option left for the applicant was to proceed on appeal.

Justice Nyako in addition ordered the prosecution to file and serve its proof of evidence on Kanu, while the defendant files his defense pending the next adjourned date.

She added that the defendant should agree with the prosecution where there are no issues and state his objection where necessary.

Kanu had in the fresh application urged the court to quash the said charges for being unconstitutional, adding that in five counts the prosecution failed to indicate the exact location where the alleged offensive broadcast occurred.

He had argued that the court lacked jurisdiction since the prosecution failed to show in the charge whether the alleged offensive broadcast was a punishable offence in Kenya or Britain, the two places where Kanu had been outside Nigeria before his re-arrest.


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