Biafra: Magistrate father’s death stalls Nnamdi Kanu’s trial


Hearing on the case against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, by the State Security Service, SSS, stalled on Tuesday, following the death of the magistrate’s father.

Mr. Kanu was brought before an Abuja magistrate court by the SSS on allegations of criminal conspiracy, engaging in unlawful society and criminal intimidation, which violate Section 97, 97B and 397 of the penal code.

The magistrate, Usman Shuaibu, had on November 23 adjourned sitting till December 1 for ruling, but failed to appear, citing the death of his father.

According to the court registrar, Salisu Yinusa, the magistrate had to travel to prepare for the burial of his father.

The court is however considering December 16 for ruling on the matter, but the registrar said that date was still tentative.

“Counsel to both parties came here and even tried reaching him (the magistrate) to know if a date could be fixed but we could not get through to him.

“So the December 16 date is tentative,” he added.

Mr. Kanu did not appear in court today.

However, one of his lawyers, Marcel Dim-Udebuani, told PREMIUM TIMES that his client had no problem with the recent development, but hoped for a favourable judgment when the magistrate returns.

“We hope that when the matter is slated for hearing, the ruling would have been ready and the magistrate would be in the right frame of mind after all of this to issue his ruling,” Mr. Dim-Udebuani said.

The SSS had during the last sitting requested the postponement of the matter due to “certain facts” it claimed to have stumbled on.

Counsel to the SSS, Moses Idakwo, had told the court that his client stumbled on facts that made the matter fall outside the jurisdiction of the magistrate court.

He therefore sought the transfer of the case to a higher court based on section 108 subsection 1 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

Mr. Idakwo prayed the court to discontinue sitting, so that the matter could be taken to a higher court.

In a counter appeal, however, another defense counsel, Jude Abojeh, asked the court to demand that its previous orders be obeyed by the prosecution, before any prayer could be heard for them.

He said the court had given several orders to the SSS to release Mr. Kanu on bail to no avail.

“Whoever wants to come to justice should do so with clean hands,” Mr. Abojeh said.

He said since the SSS was asking for the discontinuation of the case, they should first comply with the orders of the court.

He also told the court that Section108 referred mainly to a directive by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).

“Your Lordship, there is no such order from the AGF before the court,” he countered.

He argued that an order was pending before the court to be obeyed by the prosecution counsel; hence the prosecution could not bring an application before the same court it had disobeyed.

Mr. Idakwo, however, argued that the section made a provision for an alternative if an order was not made to the AGF.

He said his client was not under obligation to seek the order of the AGF.

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