Wednesday, December 23, 2015 7:55 pm
Leader of the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu seized the political and moral high ground today when he was docked before Justice Ahmed Mohammed at the Federal High Court.
Charged along with two other persons , Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, with six counts of terrorism and money laundering, Kanu sought the permission of the court to make a complaint about his trial.
Upon the granting of the leave to speak by the judge, Kanu raised an issue of lack of confidence in the presiding Judge and the court.
“I will not have a fair trial in this very court because information available to me indicates that I will not receive fair trial before this very Judge.
“I will not for any reasons sacrifice the Due Process of law founded on the principle of natural justice on the altar of my speedy release from detention.
“In other words, I will rather remain in the detention than subject myself to a trial that I know amounts to perversion of justice.
“After all, previous orders have been made in my favour by courts of competent jurisdiction that my accuser, the State Security Service failed to carry out’’.
His statement completely startled the court, including the lawyer prosecuting for the Department of State Services, which had detained Kanu since October.
Objecting the oral application, Mr Mohammed Diri, counsel to the prosecutor, argued that the issues raised by Kanu were unfounded.
“It is my submission your Lordship that the rule of this court had laid the procedure by which a defendant may object to his or her trial before any court.
“The defendant could do this by filing a proper application before the court. Such application will exhibit special circumstance why he should be tried by a particular court.
“ Such formal process would give opportunity to the prosecutor to file a proper reply to the objection. Your Lordship, this has not been followed in this case,’’ Diri said.
Diri further argued that “under Section 396 (2) of the Administration Criminal Justice Act an objection to trial may be raised after a plea is taken.
“The defendant is putting the cart before the horse by raising an objection for his trial before the charges are read to him and plea taken,’’ the prosecutor said.
Countering Diri’s argument, Mr Vincent Obetta, who aligned himself to the objection raised by his client, said the prosecutor’s submission was misconceived.
Obetta said the court was established to do justice to the public, the prosecution and to the defendants, adding that the three elements must come together for justice to be served.
He therefore urged the court to dismiss Diri’s argument and to uphold Kanu’s objection.
Delivering ruling on the objection, Justice Mohammed held that the objection raised by the first defendant (Kanu) could not be ignored.
“I am of the view that the first defendant has the right to object to be tried in any court. I do not see any wrong with the issues raised.
“Justice is all about confidence. Would the prosecution not raise similar objection if occasion has presented itself.
“Let it be clear that the defendant is not challenging the validity of the charges against him,’’ Justice Mohammed said.
According to him, section 396 of the Administration Criminal Justice Act used to deflate the objection does not apply in the circumstance.
“It is on this premise that I remit the case file to the office of the Chief Judge for re-assignment,’’ he said.