Terrorism trial: Settlement imminent as Court orders open space meetings with Nnamdi Kanu’s lawyers

The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday hinted at the possibility of exploiting the process of an out-of-court settlement in its ongoing treasonable felony trial in Abuja.

Kanu made the disclosure at his resumed trial presided over by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The embattled IPOB leader, Blueprint recalled, has been in the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) since 2021, when he was re-arrested and brought back to continue his trial on alleged treasonable felony charges.

But at the resumed trial on Wednesday, his lead lawyer, Mr Ejimakor Aloy, informed the court that the secret service was yet to fully comply with the orders of the court, arguing that their visit to Kanu was still being bugged.

In view of that, the defendant has resolved to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the Director General of the DSS for refusing to obey court orders directing the service to grant Kanu a “safe room” (unbugged) space for meeting with his lawyers.

Aloy in addition urged the court to on its own invoke Section 17 of the Federal High Court Act, which he said, provides for “reconciliation” and facilitation of amicable settlement in criminal or civil matters.

He told the court that he had sometime ago discussed the proposition with counsel to the federal government, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, saying that the senior lawyer responded by saying that the proper time for such an issue has not come.

In his arguments, Awomolo informed the court that he does not have the instruction of his client to embark on any negotiations with the defendant over the charge.

“I told him to go to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) who has the power. If he is interested in negotiating he should go there, his office is just here”, Awomolo said.

The presiding judge in her response said: “the court has no problem with it if the parties want to discuss negotiation, but  Kanu should approach the AGF who is the proper person to negotiate with.”

Justice Nyako held further that applications bordering on Forms 48 and 49, seeking the imprisonment of the DSS boss for allegedly disobeying the court’s orders were not before her, adding that the matter would be looked into when she sees the file.

Nyako however, ordered the service to provide an “unbugged space” for Kanu to meet with his lawyers each time they were at the facility to prepare Kanu for trial.

The unbugged space according to her refers to a garden within the DSS premises where Kanu and his lawyers can discuss without the hearing of the operatives of the service.

Justice Nyako also dismissed a fresh application by Kanu challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15 for being unconstitutional.

The court held that it cannot overrule itself on issues she had already resolved, adding that the only option left for the applicant was to proceed on appeal.

Justice Nyako in addition ordered the prosecution to file and serve its proof of evidence on the defendant while the defendant files his defense pending the next adjourned date, adding that the defendant should agree with the prosecution where there are no issues and state his objection where necessary.

Justice Nyako later adjourned the matter till June 19 and 20, for trial.