Judge’s Absence Stalls Trial Of Kanu, Radio Biafra Director



The trial of Nnamdi Kanu, Director of Radio Biafra, suffered a setback on Tuesday due to the absence of Magistrate Shuaibu Usman of the Wuse Zone 2 Senior Magistrates’ Court, Abuja. Kanu is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to unlawful society, to which he pleaded not guilty.

The case which had earlier been fixed for ruling did not hold due to the absence of the magistrate in court. No reason was given by the court on why the magistrate did not sit. Speaking to newsmen at the court premises, the defendant’s lawyer, Mr Vincent Obetta said all efforts to reach the magistrate on phone were not successful.

Obetta appealed to the prosecution, the Department of State Service (DSS), to obey the subsisting order of the court to transfer his client to prison custody to enable him have access to him. “DSS has refused to obey the court order to transfer my client to prison custody. “I call on the trial judge to order the DSS to transfer my client to prison custody.
“The DSS has flouted the court order which granted my client bail since Oct. 19,’’ he said.

At the last sitting on Nov. 23, the DSS had requested the court to discontinue trial. Prosecution counsel, Moses Idakwo, had informed the court that after the arraignment of the defendant, the complainant stumbled on some facts which took the matter out of the jurisdiction of the magistrates’ court.

According to him, the complainant found out that the accused was involved in terrorism and has been financing it. Idakwo said that the DSS had also obtained an order from the Federal High Court, Abuja, dated Nov.10, to detain the accused in its custody for 90 days.

Obetta, had objected to the application by the DSS and prayed the court not to discontinue the case. He had argued that the prosecution did not present any information from the Attorney-General of Federation who had the authority to approve such.

The magistrate had adjourned the matter for ruling till Dec. 1.