The Federal High Court Abuja was agog today as hundreds of Biafrans flooded the court premises from all corners of Biafra land and beyond to cheer and stand in solidarity with their leader, who arrived the court at about 9:45am, Biafra time, alongside co-defendants.
Prior to the commencement of proceedings, the Nigerian security agencies left nothing unreserved in exhibition of their uncivilised terrifying features, as several IPOB journalists and reporters were repeatedly harassed and prevented from entering the court room, in accordance with the media blackout ordered by Nigeria president, Muhammadu Buhari.
However, few journalists were able to force themselves into the court room after much heated arguments and the intervention of Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the legal counsel to Nnamdi Kanu.
The proceedings commenced shortly after the arrival of the presiding judge, Hon Binta Nyako, the prosecuting counsel, M.S Labaran and other legal representatives of the three other defendants.
After reading out the arguments of the prosecuting counsel and that of the defense counsels, the judge stated that the charges levelled against Nnamdi Kanu and co-defendants by the federal government attracts the penalty of life imprisonment, if found guilty, therefore the court cannot grant them bail.
“The court is not interested at this stage of the offences, but are interested in whether the offences are bailable or not,
“If the defendants are found guilty of the charges, they might be sentenced to life imprisonment,” Binta Nyako posited against the bail application.
By so doing, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor protested that the judge has affirmed the order given by Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on December 30, 2015, which was of the disposition that Nnamdi Kanu can never be released.
Meanwhile, Binta Nyako stated that the charges on the accused (Nnamdi Kanu and co-defendants) are too magnanimous for the court to grant them bail.
She went further to state that, she will continue with the case if, based on a date picked by the defendant.
But the date must be within two months time.
Barrister Ejiofor,argued that the first defendant,was falsely attached to the other defendants,which is against section 134.
“My lord, the first defendant is not presiding over an unlawful society and IPOB has never engaged in any violence,
“My lord Amnesty International report proves that the first defendant is innocent of the accusations labelled against him,
“My lord; The first defendant has being convicted on Media, even before the trial commenced. My lord let them bring their arguments on next week, we are ready for it,” Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor stated.
After Ejiofor retreated, the defending counsel of the second defendant rose for his argument:
“My lord, the second defendant has pleaded not guilty. Paragraph 3,4,6 and 7 on page 2, backs my argument of the prosecution’s motion, I will like to read if my lord permits me,” he requested.
He was permitted to read it out by the judge, and he continued:
“My lord, the accusation against the verdict of guilt, should be proven and established in court.”
The Judge slightly confused asked: “What is wrong with that? By the way,what is the verdict of guilty?”
Second defending counsel replied and said:
“My lord, that a gun was found in his house”
The Judge refuted, saying that the accused “don’t have to prove it, because that you found a gun in someone’s house, does not mean he has no right to have it.”
“My lord, I will also argue on fair hearing of the second defendant. It is our duty my lord, to put the law straight. We are lawyers and cannot let it go.
“Section 272 is completely consisted with the constitution. The constitutional provision for secret trial is that everyone should leave the court and its done. Not covering the faces of the witnesses,” he said.
The judge asked the request from the defense counsel is contained in his file, of which he said yes. He however demanded that the application against the second defendant should be scrapped off. He retreated afterwards.
The counsel to the third defendant, Nwakwo Juliet rose for her own argument:
“My lord it has never being heared that,an Elephant has being killed by an ant,” she said,to the bemusement of the judge who demanded explanation to her proverb:
“My lord is an international proverb. My lord, the defendant is the Ant and Federal Government is the Elephant, hence the accusation should be trashed out.” She concluded.
The fourth defending counsel also made his argument, saying:
“My lord, in alignment with what my colleague stated, we will not allow a masked witness. The charges against my client, is laughable.
“My lord, the World wants to see the witnesses, Nigerians want to see them and we cannot allow it.’
After hearing the arguments, the Judge said:
“I don’t have time next week, but I will look at my diary and set a date. But before that, I will make a ruling on if, masked witnesses will be granted or not”
Prosecuting counsel Labaran interrupted and said:
“My lord, I am surprised that the defending counsel submitted a file to Attorney General, which is against the Law.”
However, the Judge debunked his argument, as the defending counsel is not against the law.
Barrister Ejiofor also debunked the assertion by the prosecutor saying: “My lord we did that because, the prosecuting counsel has been delaying this matter and most a times have not being present in the court, hence need for meeting the Attorney General.”
After the tensed up arguments, the Judge adjourned her ruling on whether secret trial would be allowed to Tuesday, December 13, 2016.