The secret trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and his co-defendants began yesterday with the accused persons challenging the competency of the 11-count charge slammed against them by the federal government.
The federal government is prosecuting Kanu, alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja on charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.
Though, the defendants’ applications were not heard at the resumed hearing of the matter yesterday, the trial Judge, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, ordered the prosecution counsel, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, to file his response and serve it on the defence.
The judge adjourned the matter till tomorrow (Thursday) for adoption of all the processes to enable the court deliver its ruling on the application.
During the trial yesterday, counsel to the Biafra leader, who is the first defendant in the matter, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, informed the court that some of the relatives of the defendants who visited them at the Kuje prison, where they are being held in custody, were arrested and are being detained by the Department of State Services (DSS) since two months ago.
Ejiofor further informed the court, “The information we are getting is that most of them have been killed by operatives of the DSS. My client is no longer safe in custody.”
“The DSS counsel, Mr Labaran should make their corpse available to us for burial.
wwwThe matter is before the court and the DSS must respect the court”, Ejiofor stated.
One of the defence counsels, Mr Maxwell Okpara, in his submission accused the DSS of making the process of visiting the defendants cumbersome.
According to him, the DSS subjects lawyers to rigorous questioning and makes lawyers fill two separate forms, with detailed information before being allowed to see their clients in prison custody.
Okpara, therefore, prayed the court for a pronouncement on the visiting procedures for easy access to their clients.