The Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday officially issued a trial notice for the October 21 prosecution of the leader the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, in the alleged treasonable felony charges brought against him by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The trial notice entitled “Federal Republic of Nigeria Versus Nnamdi Kanu” was marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/15 and served on Kanu’s lawyer, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor and that of the Federal Government Mr Shuaib Labaran.
This notice signals resumption of full-blown prosecution for the Biafran leader.
The one-page document showed that the court carefully and explicitly spelt out the dos and don’ts for lawyers of the contending parties to avoid an abortion of the trial which commenced in 2015 when Kanu was first arrested in Lagos upon arrival from the United Kingdom.
The document read in part, “This case will be transferred from the General Cause List to the hearing paper for Thursday 21st October 2021at 9 o’clock forenoon and will come on to be on that day if the business of the court permits or otherwise on some adjustment day of which you will receive no further notice.
“If either party desires to postpone the hearing, he must apply to the court as soon as possible for that purpose and if the application is based on any matter of fact, he must be prepared to give proof of those facts.
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“The parties are warned that at the hearing, they are required to bring forward all the evidence by witnesses or by documents which each of them desires to rely on in support of his own case and in contradiction of that of his opponent.
“The proof will be required at the hearing and not on a subsequent day, and parties failing to bring their evidence forward at the proper time may find themselves absolutely precluded from adducing it at all, or at best only allowed to do so on payment of substantial costs to the other side, and on such other terms as the court fits to impose.
“Parties desirous to enforce the attendance of witnesses should apply at once to the court to issue one or more summonses for the attendance of the witnesses required.
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“It is indispensable that the application should be made so as to allow time for reasonable notice to the witnesses required.
“If the witness is required to bring books or papers, they must be particularized in the summons sufficiently to enable him to understand what is meant.
” Any party summoning a witness through the court thereby becomes liable to pay such witness reasonable sum of money to be fixed by the court for his expense and loss of time.
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“The court may refuse to enforce the attendance of a witness unless such sum has been fixed and deposited in the court.
“If either party desires to use in evidence at the hearing, any book or document in the possession or power of the other party, he must give the other party, reasonable notice in writing to produce It at the hearing, failing which he will not be allowed to give any secondary evidence of its contents.”
Kanu is expected to face the trial before Justice Binta Nyako.
Meanwhile, the IPoB, has disowned a purported statement that it has directed a sit-at-home next Monday and Tuesday.
It, however, said that sit-at-home would be observed on October 21, in solidarity with its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who is expected to be in court on that day.
The separatist group in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, entitled, “Ignore fake news on sit-at-home on Monday and Tuesday,” described the claim as a fabricated statement by mischief-makers.
The statement reads: “The attention of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, ably led by our great and indefatigable leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been drawn to the fabricated statement being circulated by mischief makers and paid agents of darkness that IPoB had directed Biafrans to sit-at-home on Monday, October 18; Tuesday, October 19; and Thursday, October 21, 2921, for our leader, and one year anniversary of #EndSARS protest.
“We want to make it categorically clear that the purported statement did not emanate from IPoB, and we completely dissociate ourselves from such falsehood.
“IPoB did not issue any sit-at-home except on October 21, when our leader is expected to appear in court.
“We, therefore, urge members of the public to ignore the purported statement and utter falsehood being peddled to create confusion and demarket IPoB.
“Their intention is to portray IPoB as a violent and insensitive movement, but we know their antics, and shall beat them to it’’.
“For the sake of clarity, IPoB has not called for any sit-at-home except on Thursday, October 21 when our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, will appear in court in Abuja.
“Biafrans will solidarize with him by staying indoors on that day because we are all in the struggle together. He did nothing to deserve any persecution by the federal government.
“We warn all those behind this rumour to retrace their steps and stop tarnishing the good image of IPoB.
“As a responsible and responsive movement, we stopped Monday sit-at-home in the interest of our people, when we discovered that hooligans and paid agents of death wanted to hijack the opportunity to unleash mayhem on our people.
“Anybody sitting at home on Mondays does so out of one’s volition and not on the orders of IPOB.
“We also urge the public to ignore the fake news that our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu has been taken away by a foreign government.”
Earlier, ahead of his arraignment on Thursday, October 21, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has asked millions of his supporters to embark on a dry fast.
His counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who stated this on his verified Facebook page, also stated that Kanu was well.
Ejiofor said Kanu asked him to tell his followers that he was in high spirits ahead of his arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja next Thursday.
He wrote partly, “Prominent among the falsehoods desperately championed by mischief makers is the trending subject that our dear client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has been flown to China, and from China to Israel, and from Israel to Kontokatafi etc.
“We know the purveyors of this fake news and they are aware that their evil conspiracies are dead on arrival.
“Onyendu was equally amazed by the fake news that was making headlines on some social media platforms that he was asked to sign a document before regaining his freedom. This is total falsehood and he is urging his esteemed followers to please ignore this falsehood.
“Above all, our indefatigable client is strong and tenaciously holding firm in spirit. He is ready for the 21st October 2021 appearance in court. This date is sacrosanct and shall remain so.
“Thankfully, the Federal Government of Nigeria is fully aware of this date, and more compelling is the fact that the detaining authority has since over a month ago concluded every purported investigation into the matter.
“Hence, no plausible excuse will be available to them not to produce Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu in court come Thursday, the 21st day of October 2021. You must all see him live and direct on this date.
“Our client, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, urges millions of his followers and supporters to continue to conduct themselves and carry on within the ambit of the law, as you all have always done. More striking and commendable is the fact that your solidarity has remained unshaken against all intimidating circumstance, and for this, he is deeply grateful.”