A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted a request by the Federal Government to separate the trial of the acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu’s trial from three others.
The three others are Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
The court agreed with the Federal Government on the request considering the uncertainty surrounding the whereabouts of Kanu since his house was allegedly attacked by the military in September 2017.
By this order of the court, the three other defendants – Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, will consequently face their trial on a five-count charge of felony on March 20, 21 and 22 respectively, while Nnamdi Kanu’s trial has been fixed for March 28.
The prosecution counsel, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, at the resumed trial, had sought the guidance of the court regarding further proceedings with only three of the defendants in court.
According to him, the absence of the first defendant (Kanu), who was granted bail since April last year, has frustrated the pace of the trial.
“We shall be asking for the indulgence of the court to separate the charges so that progress can be made in the matter,” he pleaded.
Ruling on the application, Justice Nyako agreed with the prosecution that Kanu’s absence in court since last year had actually stalled trial of the case.
Consequently, she ordered that the trial of Kanu be separated from the rest.
Following the ruling, Labaran requested for a short adjournment to enable the prosecution amend the charges to reflect the current position of the trial.
“We need to do the needful to make the record of the court neater,” he said.
The court then adjourned till March 20, 21 and 22 for the amended charge to be read to the defendants and for continuation of trial.
It also adjourned till March 28 for the first defendant to be produced in court or his sureties appear to explain his whereabouts.
Earlier, the prosecution counsel had told the court that the business of the day was for Abaribe and two other sureties to show cause why they would not forfeit the bond for Kanu’s bail or for the court to take necessary action as provided by the law.
He, however, informed the court of a letter from Abaribe’s counsel seeking adjournment of the matter on the ground that Abaribe was attending a matter at the Supreme Court.