The trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, is scheduled to resume before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday (today).
But his lead defence lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told PUNCH correspondent on Sunday that his client remained missing.
He said the matter would not continue if the Federal Government failed to produce him in court.
Tuesday will be the court’s first sitting on the case after Justice Binta Nyako granted bail to Kanu on April 25.
But, in an interview with PUNCH on Sunday, Ejiofor insisted that Kanu was still in the custody of the Federal Government and if not produced in court on Tuesday, the trial would not continue.
“On Tuesday, if the Federal Government fails to produce him in court, then the trial will not go on. It is simple. We have asked them to produce him in court because he is in their custody,” the lawyer said.
Ejiofor had, on September 27, led other lawyers to file an originating motion, marked FHC/ABJ/CS/908/2017, before the Federal High Court in Abuja, praying for an order directing the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to produce Kanu in court.
The lawyers claimed that soldiers on September 14 invaded the IPOB leader’s house “on a murderous raid, where live and mortar bullets were fired on unarmed and defenceless populace, leaving 28 persons dead and abducting many.
“It is either the respondent’s rampaging soldiers abducted the applicant during this raid or they must have killed him in the process,” part of the grounds of the motion read.
Kanu was on bail granted to him by Justice Nyako on April 25 until September 14 when he was declared missing by his team of lawyers after a military operation.
He is being prosecuted alongside the National Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe; an IPOB member, Benjamin Madubugwu; a former field maintenance engineer seconded to the MTN, David Nwawuisi, and Bright Chimezie.
The defendants are being prosecuted on charges of conspiracy and treasonable felony by allegedly conspiring among themselves to broadcast on Radio Biafra for the secession of Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.
They were also accused of improper importation of goods and illegal possession of firearms.
Among the charges was also a publication of defamatory matter by allegedly referring to the then President-elect, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), as “a paedophile, a terrorist, an idiot, and an embodiment of evil” in a broadcast on Radio Biafra on April 28, 2015.
Justice Nyako, in her ruling on April 25, granted bail to Kanu.
But in August, the Federal Government filed an application asking the court to revoke the bail granted to Kanu and ordered his immediate arrest by the police.
The Federal Government’s counter-affidavit filed in support of the motion and deposed to by a litigation clerk in the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions, pieced together Kanu’s alleged acts of serial violations of the bail conditions.
According to the prosecution, instead of attending to his health needs, Kanu went ahead to inaugurate a security outfit known as the Biafra Security Service.
The prosecution said this constituted a threat to national security.