By Taiye Agbaje
Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed April 8 for ruling in a preliminary objection filed by the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.Kanu is challenging the jurisdiction of the court to try him.Justice Nyako fixed the date after Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, counsel for Kanu and Shuaibu Labaran, the prosecution counsel, had adopted arguments for and against the defendant’s preliminary objection.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Kanu is also challenging the validity of the 15-count amended charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.In a short adumbration, Ozekhome, who urged the court to discharge and acquit his client of all the charges levelled against him, argued that the application filed against Kanu was incompetent.The senior lawyer further argued that the 15-count amended charge was “defective and baseless.”He said the application denied the court of jurisdiction to entertain charge.Ozekhome adopted his application and asked court to quash, strike out and dismiss the entire charges.He asked the court to look at the entire grounds and affidavit, from paragraph 5 to 36, of notice of preliminary objection, etc.
He said Kanu was unlawfully brought to Nigeria against his will and in flagrant violation of international protocol on extradition.But the prosecution counsel urged the court to refuse Kanu’s motion for lacking in merit, and to make an order, directing the prosecution to open their case.“We wish to state emphatically and particularly in paragraphs 7, 8, 9, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30 of the affidavit in support of the motion as going into the substance of the case yet to be heard,” Labaran said.He argued that the court had jurisdiction to hear the matter going by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).Meanwhile, Ozekhome complained that despite the court order, the DSS had refused Kanu to change cloths. He also prayed the court to make an order, directing the DSS to release his clients’ eye glasses so that he could read with it.The judge then asked the Director of Legal, Department of State Services (DSS), why Kanu appeared in the same attire despite court order.The officer told the court that though family members of Kanu brought a clothe for him, the traditional clothe brought was unacceptable by his office.He stated that the family came with a clothe that has a lion’s heart which “offends our standard operating procedures”.However, Nyako asked the defendant; “Mr Kanu, what type of cloth do you want to wear?“I want to wear the clothes of my people, “Isi Agu”, Kanu replied.Responding swiftly, the judge said: “That kind of cloth cannot be worn in my court.”
She however urged that Kanu should be provided with other clothes before the next adjourned date.The judge also directed that the security outfit should make provision for another eye glasses for Kanu, if the one taken from him had been misplaced.(NAN)