The senator representing Anambra South, Ifeanyi Ubah, has decried how he was denied access to the premises of the Federal High Court in Abuja where the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, came up on Thursday.
The State Security Services (SSS) blocked routes leading to the court on Thursday, preventing journalists, litigants and lawyers from having access, as Mr Kanu’s trial went underway.
Newsmen report that some lawyers prevented from entering the court premises to pursue their cases before other judges of the court engaged in a shouting match with the security agents.
Speaking with journalists on Thursday, Mr Uba, the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Congress (YPP) in the forthcoming November 6 election in Anambra State, said he had come to court to attend proceedings in a separate matter he filed in court only to be denied access.
Mr Uba had reportedly filed a suit seeking an order of court granting him access to Mr Kanu in custody.
“As a serving senator of the federal republic, today, I have a case in court and I was to present myself in court regarding my motion.
“This morning, I approached the court site through different routes, but they were blocked.
“As a senator of the federal republic, I think I have the right to enter the court premise even if I have no business in the court.
“I want to plead with the authorities that this should not happen again. Everybody that is accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty,’’ Mr Uba said.
The lawmaker appealed to security agents, particularly the SSS to evolve better ways to ensure the smooth trial of leader of the proscribed IPOB, Kanu.
“I am pleading that there should be sanity in the way and manner we go about this case,’’ he added.
Mr Uba had approached the court seeking an order to be allowed to visit Kanu in SSS custody.
The motion was brought pursuant to Section 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court as preserved in Section 6 (6b) of the Constitution.
In the motion on notice dated October 15, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2021, Mr Uba prayed for an order of court granting him leave to visit Kanu in DSS custody, as part of his oversight legislative function.
In the affidavit personally deposed to by the senator, he stated that: “as a senator from the South-east geopolitical zone of Nigeria, I took it upon myself in carrying out my oversight legislative functions to visit the defendant at the DSS detention facility.
“This is to ascertain from him if he is involved in any way in what is happening in the South-east and to seek way of amicable settlement of the separatist agitation in the Southeast in the overall interest of Nigeria.
“That at the SSS detention facility, I was denied access to the defendant and directed to approach this court to obtain permission before I could be allowed access to the defendant.
“I state that my interest in seeking to see the defendant is in the interest of national peace and security.’’
The separatist, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military in September that year, a situation one of Mr Kanu’s lawyers, Alloy Ejimakor, described as the “rule of self-preservation.”
A judge subsequently revoked his bail for ditching his trial, and ordered his trial to be separated from the rest of the co-defendants’.
While the trial of the rest of the defendants has made some progress, Mr Kanu’s has been stalled since 2017.
On June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced that Mr Kanu had been rearrested and brought back to Nigeria to continue facing his trial.
He said the IPOB leader was “intercepted” days earlier but did not give details.
Although there has been no official disclosure about where and how Mr Kanu was arrested, relatives and lawyers to the IPOB leader, have described how he was “kidnapped” in Kenya under controversial circumstances.