The State Security Service on Monday failed to produce the leader of IPOB Nnamdi Kanu in court for continuation of trial.
M.B. Abubakar, the lawyer representing the Buhari regime in the matter, cited logistics reasons for the disobedience of court order, which had previously said Mr. Kanu should be returned to court on July 26 to hear a bail application.
Mr. Abubakar said the government was ready to allow the trial to continue in the absence of Mr. Kanu.
Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako said the government’s action was disturbing, saying Mr. Kanu should have been presented in court since he was remanded in SSS custody last month.
“I am also worried why the defendant is not here.,” Ms Murtala-Nyako said. “The first step in a criminals matter is to provide the defendant in court.”
But the separatist leader’s lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor told the court that Mr. Kanu’s health conditions had deteriorated in custody and should be released before the next adjournment.
Mr. Ejiofor also said he believed Mr. Kanu had been taken away from Abuja where the judge said he should be remanded last month.
“I was informed authoritatively, I am speaking from the bar, that Nnamdi Kanu has been taken out of the jurisdiction of this court,” the lawyer said.
Mr. Ejiofor said Mr. Kanu should not be allowed to suffer perpetually in SSS custody because of the long vacation that judges will be embarking upon from this month until mid-October.
Mr. Kanu was abducted by Nigerian agents in Kenya and repatriated to Nigeria on June 29, according to Attorney-General Abubakar Malami.
The development has received widespread controversy, with rights activists said the Buhari regime had violated international rights law by abducting the frontline separatist agitator, who was carrying a British passport at the time of his arrest in Nairobi.
The regime, however, pushed back against the criticism, saying Mr. Kanu was only “intercepted” in order to bring him to justice, four years after fleeing Nigeria while on court bail.
His lawyers also rejected the government’s argument, saying Mr. Kanu fled because his home was invaded and dozens of his relatives shot dead by Nigerian soldiers in September 2017,