A federal high court in Abuja is set to commence the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in his absence. A hearing notice from the court scheduled the case for November 26 during which five prosecution witnesses will testify against Kanu.
The notice was served on the federal government’s prosecution team and Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the defendant’s counsel.
Kanu is facing charges bordering on treasonable felony instituted against him in response to years of the campaign for the Independent Republic of Biafra through IPOB.
He was granted bail in April 2017 for health reasons but skipped his bail after reportedly flouting all the conditions given to him by the court.
Owing to his absence in court, Binta Nyako, the judge who granted him bail, revoked it and ordered that he should be arrested.
But Kanu’s lawyer argued that he left the country because of the invasion of his family’s residence in Abia State by soldiers during a military exercise.
He prayed the court to restore the bail to enable the defendant to return to Nigeria for trial, but the judge did not accede to the request.
Despite the court’s insistence on his appearance, the IPOB leader has remained abroad and once said he jumped bail to pursue the cause of Biafra. “Their problem is Nnamdi Kanu and the solution to their problem is a referendum.
They gave me conditional bail to cage me and IPOB but I refused,” he had said during a broadcast.
He also said the arrest warrant against him means nothing and vowed to remain abroad to continue his campaign for a Biafran republic in the south-east.
“The bench warrant against me is merely academic. It will surely be ignored by an international legal and diplomatic order that has voiced its disapproval of what is happening to IPOB in Nigeria,” he had said.
“Self-determination is not a crime but a right guaranteed under chapter A9, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004. So, what is Justice Binta Nyako seeking my arrest and trial for unless she has no intention of obeying the laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which gives me the right to openly agitate for Biafra?“