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Nnamdi Kanu absent as court adjourns terrorism trial indefinitely

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THE Abuja division of the Federal High Court has adjourned the trial of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, indefinitely.

The presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako, said the court would await the decision of the Supreme Court on appeals that were lodged by both the Federal Government and Kanu’s defence team.

During proceedings on Monday, November 14, the prosecution team led by the Director of Public Prosecution, M.B. Abubakar, informed the court that Kanu refused to present himself for his planned re-arraignment on fresh charges filed against him by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government had last week filed an amended seven counts of terrorism against the detained IPOB leader.

The amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja, contained all earlier sustained allegations against Kanu.

Appeals filed by the Federal Government and Kanu are pending at the Supreme Court.

The Federal Government is challenging the Court of Appeal judgment that quashed the 15-count terrorism charge it entered against Kanu.

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On the other hand, Kanu approached the apex court to query the legality of the appellate court’s decision to stay the execution of the order for his release from detention.

Addressing the court on Monday, the prosecution counsel Abubakar said: “My Lord, I understand that the defendant (Kanu) declined to come to court today.

“As of last week, the defendant was intimated of this sitting, and he did not object. However, when I called the office this morning, I was informed that the defendant woke up and declined to come to court.

“All entreaties and pleas were made, but he refused to come to court.”

However, Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, noted that his client still needed to be served with a copy of the fresh charge filed against him.

According to Ozekhome, Kanu and his legal team only heard about the fresh charge from social media.

The lawyer said the allegation that Kanu refused to appear in court was strange as he had never hidden his intention to always be in court.

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“This is totally strange to me because this is a person that has never hidden his intention to always be in court. In fact, even in processes we filed at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, the defendant said he would want to be present in court for the hearing of all the matters,” Ozekhome said.

The court thereafter adjourned the matter indefinitely.

Kanu is standing trial on an amended seven counts of terrorism filed against him by the Federal Government.

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