A Federal High Court in Abuja has fixed January 27, 2021 for continuation of trial of leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The matter was fixed for hearing yesterday but Kanu and his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, were absent.
A lawyer in a sister case, E. Ejiofor, said Ejiofor asked him to draw the court’s attention to a letter he wrote explaining his absence.
In the letter, Ejiofor said he heard of the new date of November 26 on November 25.
Ejiofor said he travelled out of Abuja and could not return immediately to attend court because of the short notice.
Prosecuting lawyer Shuaibu Labaran objected the letter, saying it was dated November 24, while Ejiofor said he got information about the new date on November 25.
He said: “The letter predates the information from the registrar concerning date for the matter. It is a deliberate attempt to mislead the court and I object to it and ask the court to disregard it.”
Labaran added that there has been a consistent and deliberate attempt to frustrate the continuation of the case by the defence lawyer. He said Ejiofor’s absence would force the prosecution to ask for an adjournment but with cost to the defendant.
Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the matter till January 27, saying it would go on even if the defence lawyer was absent. She said cost would be determined after the trial.
The split trial of Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, Kanu’s former co-defendants, was also adjourned till January 27 due to their absence in court.
They were co-defendants with Kanu but in order to speed up trial, the court made an order separating their trial from Kanu’s.
Their lawyer, F.K Kamagan, E. Ejiofor and Maxwel Opara, told the court that their clients were absent because they were out of Abuja and they received information of the new date on November 25.
The defendants are standing trial for alleged treasonable felony, improper importation of goods and illegal possession of firearms.