The embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday declared that he preferred being held in the detention than subjecting himself to a trial.
He noted that the outcomes of previous trials had been abused or neglected by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Kanu spoke during hearing of a fresh sixcount charge against him at the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Kanu said: “I will not have a fair trial in this very court because information available to me indicates that I will not receive fair trial before this very judge.
“I will not, for any reasons, sacrifice the due process of law founded on the principle of natural justice on the altar of my speedy release from detention.
“In other words, I will rather remain in the detention than subject myself to a trial that I know amounts to pervasion of justice.
“After all, previous orders have been made in my favour by courts of competent jurisdiction that my accuser, the DSS, failed to carry out.”
But, prosecution counsel, Mohamed Diri, told the court that based on section 396 (2) of the constitution, the defendant had no right to object to being tried by the court until after the plea is heard.
Justice A.R Mohammed of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja countered the prosecution counsel, saying that Kanu had the right to reject the trial. “
After all, justice is rooted on confidence,” he said.
“If any of the parties has no confidence in the court, he has the right to say so,” the court held.
As such, he disqualified himself from hearing of the fresh charge filed by the Federal Government against Kanu.
Justice Mohammed also noted that the prosecution would have done the same thing if they were in Kanu’s shoes.
“Assuming it was the prosecution, if they had no confidence in the court of jurisdiction; would they not have done so?
“I hereby remit the case file to the honourable chief judge of this court to reassign it,” the judge held.
The Federal High Court has charged Kanu alongside two others, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, in a fresh six-count charge of treason and managing the affairs of ‘an unlawful society.’
In the fresh charge, the Federal Government accused Kanu of plotting to split Nigeria, by creating a Biafra Republic with South-East, South-South states, and parts of Kogi and Benue states, as component units.
It would be recalled that the court had, last Friday while granting bail to Kanu, faulted the action of the DSS for detaining Kanu for over two months, without trial.
Moreso, Chief Magistrate Shuaibu Usman had also last Wednesday struck out all criminal charges levelled against Kanu.
The striking out was sequel to the notice of discontinuance brought by the prosecuting counsel, Moses Idakwo.
In his ruling on the bail application, Justice Ademola held that the continued detention of Kanu after two months without trial, violated Section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.
The court further noted that there is no law that permitted the DSS or any other security agencies to detain any Nigerian over two months, when in actual fact, the DSS is not showing any readiness to bring him for trial.
The court also held that his continuous detention is illegal and should be released on bail unconditionally.
“Especially in the light of the deposition of the counsel to the DSS that it has no charge against Kanu in any court of jurisdiction, it will be illegal and unconstitutional to keep him in detention. The applicant is hereby granted bail unconditionally,” the court held.
Before the case was struck out at the magistrate’s court, Kanu had been put on trial for criminal conspiracy, managing and belonging to an unlawful society and criminal intimidation contrary to Section 97, 97B and 397 of the penal code.
The fact of the case, according to a DSS report, was that the accused formed an unlawful society with the purpose of bringing into being a Republic of Biafra.
He was alleged to have proclaimed himself as the leader of the Republic of Biafra and established Radio Biafra. Kanu was also alleged to have appointed himself Commander of the Loyal Forces of Biafra and was broadcasting to the whole world the dire consequences the government and people of Nigeria will suffer should they attempt to hinder the actualisation of the Republic of Biafra.
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