Following the expected arraignment in court, today, of the embattled leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, his lead counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has made some demands on the Federal Government and law enforcement agencies.
Ejiofor, who spoke while addressing a press conference, yesterday, in his office in Garki, Abuja, said he decided to brief the press “against the backdrop of the seven-count smokescreen amended charge filed against his client last week Friday, after waiting for the over-advertised/hyped amendment for over three months.
“You may recall that upon the abduction of our client in Kenya on June 19, 2021, and his extraordinary rendition to Nigeria afterwards, he was secretly brought to court on June 29, 2021 without our knowledge,” he said.
He explained that it was due to the failure of the Federal Government to notify Kanu’s lawyers of the proceedings of June 29, 2021 that they were unavoidably absent, lamenting that when the matter came up on the adjourned date of July 26, 2021 for commencement of hearing in the case, “our client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was not produced in court.”
Ejiofor, who lamented lack of openness by the government in the matter, added that there was no plausible convincing reason(s) for Kanu’s absence in court on the adjourned date, saying the action “was in flagrant violation of court order made by Justice Murtala Nyako for him to be brought to court on July 26, 2021.
While expressing the hope that the ugly incident of failing to bring Kanu to court will not repeat itself today, the lead counsel stated:
“As the world is now aware, today, being October 21, 2021, is the date on record, collectively agreed in open court by all parties for the commencement of hearing in our client’s case.
“We, therefore, demand as follows:
• That today, October 21, 2021 should be sacrosanct. Our client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, must and shall be produced in court to face his trial. Thankfully, the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation has though belatedly filed a seven-count amended charge, along with an affidavit of completion of investigation, there is no excuse or place to hide whatsoever again to justify doing the contrary.
• That the security agents, ostensibly to be deployed to man the court and its environs, or detailed to provide security on October 21, 2021, should be manifestly civil in their conduct towards the civilian populace who are expected to throng the court in their numbers in solidarity.”
Ejiofor said it was on record that over 20 persons all of Ebonyi State indigenes/extraction, including a lawyer, who were in court on July 26 to witness the hearing on the case were intercepted and arrested on their way back home, at Lokoja by the security agents.
He regretted that “till date, they were still being held in various detention facilities without access to their lawyers and family members.