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Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday said that he would expose secrets that will break Nigeria, when he opens his defence in the criminal suit filed against him and three others by the Federal Government before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. Kanu made the threat while protesting against the ruling of Justice Binta Nyako, which granted an application brought by the Federal Government seeking to hide the identities of prosecution witnesses in the trial. Fuming with anger, Kanu, who reacted from the dock immediately after the court ruling, insisted that the ruling was against the tenets of justice and fair hearing and he will not accept the ruling.
“I won’t stand this travesty of justice. President Muhammadu Buhari spoke in public, he accused me in public. I must also be allowed to stand my trial in public. “This is nonsense! I will give testimony before this court.
By the time I finish, there will be no Nigeria. This is no Sharia court. It is a court that operates under the common law. There will be no screening of witnesses, no fake identities or fake addresses. I cannot be tried in secret. No! Nnamdi Kanu cannot be jailed in secret!
They are mad. Why must I be tried in secret by a government that does not obey court orders? “They are killing my people in public. After killing my people, they want to try me in private? That person is mad. I won’t allow it,” he stated.
The court had granted the application brought by the Federal Government seeking to protect the identities of prosecution witnesses in the ongoing trial of Kanu and his co-defendants. In her ruling in the application, Justice Nyako ordered that the names of the prosecution witnesses who are security operatives should appear in combination of alphabets and such witnesses will be given screens which will be provided by the court. “The defendants and their counsel will be able to see the witnesses who will be given special access to and from the court,” Justice Nyako held. 

The court later adjourned till January 10, 11 and 12, 2017 for commencement of trial. Shortly after the ruling, Kanu and the three other defendants, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, registered their displeasure over the court’s decision on the application. Like a drama, Kanu and his co-defendants promptly told their counsel in the open court that they were opposed to the ruling. His counsel, Chux Muoma, however, cautioned him to allow the counsel he employed to do his job without undue interference in court. “Sit down! I am your counsel, let me talk. I have not come all the way here to allow you speak for me in court,” Muoma stated.
He apologised to the court afterwards. Counsel to the other defendants said they would make a formal application against the judgement. They said they were opposed to the ruling of the court. Shortly after, the defendants began to clamour for an opportunity to speak to their counsel. Justice Nyako warned the defendants again to desist from making her court rowdy and that her ruling did not imply that the trial will be conducted in secret. “It is not going to be a secret trial.
The court will allow the defendants see the witnesses. The defendants’ counsel will also see the witnesses,” Nyako stated. The defendants, however, protested against the position of the court. This prompted the court to issue a stern warning against the defendants. “If you don’t stop talking in my court, I will assume you are becoming a nuisance in my court. And if I assume so, I will continue this trial in your absence. So do not try my patience.

“When you are in my court, you will do what I want. It’s like having a visitor in your house; you can serve the visitor food, but if he wants to eat, he will eat and if he doesn’t want to, he will not,” she said. Not mindful of the warning of the court, Kanu spoke again, saying, “I will address this court! You cannot be killing people and tell me that you will make me have secret trial. That won’t happen! The president can intimidate judges, but he cannot intimidate me. Tell him. He has lied.”
The other defendants soon joined in the voice of opposition against the court’s ruling and the session became rowdy. The court clerks then told the people present in court that the session was over and that the matter would not continue. Consequently, pro- Biafra agitators who stormed the court in their hundreds engaged prison warders and other security operatives in a scuffle over the development.
The Federal Government had applied for all the witnesses to be allowed to testify behind screen. The prosecution also prayed the court for identities of the witnesses not to be revealed in any record of the proceedings. The defendants, however, opposed the application, contending that granting such request would amount to a gross violation of their rights to fair hearing. “We vehemently oppose secret trial of the defendants.




They were accused in the open; we also request that they be tried in the open. The defendants need to see those testifying against them eyeball-to-eyeball. “We are ready for this trial,” Kanu’s counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, submitted. Specifically, the government had, in the charge marked FHC/ ABJ/CR/383/2015, alleged that the quartet conspired to commit treasonable felony, contrary to and punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014

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