On Thursday, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja issued a severe warning to Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the counsel for Nnamdi Kanu, the incarcerated leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to avoid writing letters directly to her about his client’s trial.
The Judge objected that the lawyer had written two lengthy letters to her personally, rather than going through the Registrar of the court, as is customary.
While making her views clear in open court, Justice Nyako stated that a repeat of the breach of procedure to reach court on such an issue will not be tolerated.
Despite the Judge’s admonition, the lawyer attempted to move two motions on notice on behalf of his client.
Kanu’s counsel has filed an application on notice with the court, requesting a shortening of time to move the Biafran leader’s trial from January 19 next year to a later date in November or December.
The Biafran leader, however, was not present in court to observe proceedings because he was not brought by the Department of State Service DSS, where he has been on remand since his re-arrest by the federal government after jumping bail previously granted.
The federal government’s attorney, Mr Shuaib Labaran, informed the Judge that his client had filed a counter-affidavit vigorously opposing the request to abridge time in the trial, which had been scheduled for January of next year.
Justice Nyako, who was caught aback by the motion’s motivation, told Kanu’s lawyer that her court did not have the judicial authority to move the trial date backwards.
The case diary of the court was read to the lawyer in the ensuing drama to prove that the court has a backlog of cases to deal with.
However, in response to Kanu’s continuous petition, Justice Nyako consented to reschedule other cases scheduled for January 18 to make room for Kanu’s trial, which would take place on January 19 and 20.
In another twist, Ejiofor attempted to move Kanu’s motion to challenge the competency of the federal government’s 7-count treasonable criminal accusations against him.
The federal government’s counsel objected, claiming that the motion was not ready for hearing and that the only business scheduled for the day was the request for abridgement of time.
Justice Nyako concurred with the government lawyer and dismissed the motion’s request.
However, after another appeal by Kanu’s lawyer, Justice Nyako ordered DSS to enable Kanu to practice his faith, change his clothes, and be given the most comfortable detention facility feasible.