Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the lead counsel to the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday told the Federal High Court that he was unaware his client’s whereabouts.
Immediately announcing his appearance alongside other lawyers, he declared that he was for Kanu who “is presently in the custody of the Department of State Security Service (DSS).”
He told Justice Binta Nyako that since the military invaded Kanu’s Umuahia, Abia State residence last month during the Python Dance II expedition, he had neither heard of nor communicated with him.
“So, the soldiers should give account of his whereabouts,” the counsel stated. According to him, an application had earlier been filed before the judge, praying the court to order the military to produce Kanu in court for trial.
But Justice Nyako refused to record that on the ground that the court was yet to receive such application. The judge, therefore, recorded that Kanu had failed to appear in court yesterday to stand trial, as was part of his bail conditions, and consequently, requested his sureties to explain his absence.
The prosecution counsel, Mr. S.M Labaran, told the court that the matter was adjourned till yesterday for continuation of trial, but that unfortunately, given the prevailing circumstance, the absence of the first defendant, Kanu, had stalled trial. He recalled that Kanu was granted bail on April 25 this year on health grounds wit h an order to report in court on a monthly basis.
Meanwhile, security operatives were battle-ready within the court premises. Journalists were barred from accessing the courtroom by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS), who stressed that they were acting on order from the above.