Lawyers for a detained leader of Biafra agitation and Director of Radio Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, on Monday opposed an application by the Department of State Services to withdraw the charges instituted against the detainee before a Magistrate’s Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
The lawyers, led by Mr. Jude Aboje, told the court, presided over by Chief Magistrate Shuaibu Usman, that they wanted the orders of the court, directing the release of the accused from DSS custody, to be complied with before the withdrawal of the case.
Aboje also accused the DSS of going behind his client to obtain an order from Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a Federal High Court in Abuja to obtain to keep the accused in custody for 90 days through an ex parte application after the magistrate’s court had earlier granted him (Kanu) bail on October 19.
DSS lawyer, Mr. Moses Idakwo, had applied for the discontinuation of the charge in line with provisions of section 108(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 due to what he described as fresh facts in the case, which could not be entertained under the court’s jurisdiction.
He said the prosecution intended to discontinue the case in order to institute fresh charges against the accused before the court with the requisite jurisdiction.
Kanu was on October 19, 2015 arraigned on charges of criminal conspiracy, managing and belonging to an unlawful society as well as criminal intimidation, offences said to be contrary to Section 97 (a) and (b) and 397 of the Penal Code.
The DSS produced Kanu in court on Monday for the first time after three previous sessions that held in his absence.
Kanu, who was led into the courtroom at about 10.25am, was cheered by some of his supporters who were already seated.
Outside the court premises were a large number of his loyalists, who hailed him as the vehicle in which he was driven in, arrived at the court premises at about 10.21am.
There was heavy presence of riot and regular policemen numbering over 100 around and along the inroads to the court.
The supporters chanted solidarity songs as he was driven away after the proceedings. But he was not allowed to acknowledge cheers from his supporters as he was pushed by DSS operatives into a waiting vehicle and driven off immediately.
During the proceedings, which finally commenced with the arrival of the magistrate at 10.42am, prosecution counsel, Idakwo, said contrary to the impression created by the defence lawyers, the accused persons had not met the bail conditions imposed by the court as the DSS was still in the process of verifying the location and worth of the landed property presented by the surety as directed by the court.
He said, “In order not to waste the time of this honourable court, I will like to inform the court that the complainant has stumbled on some facts, which take the matter out of the jurisdiction of this court.
“As a result, we are asking for the discontinuance of this case in line with section 108 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“Coupled with the fact that the accused person has been unable to perfect his bail condition and the fact that there is a court order remanding him in the custody of the complainant, the complainant is ready to expeditiously arraign him before the appropriate court.”
In response, Aboje said Idakwo had not fully complied with the provisions of section 108(1) of the ACJ Act, which according to him, requires the instruction of the Attorney-General of the Federation, directing the discontinuance of the case to be filed before the court and served on the defence.
Aboje also urged the magistrate not to grant the prosecution’s application until the order of the court, granting bail to the accused person and the other directing DSS to relinquish custody of the accused person to prison authorities, were complied with.
He accused the prosecution of not being diligent enough in the verification of the property presented by the surety.
“We urge your worship not to allow the discontinuance of the matter until they comply with all the subsisting orders of the court,” Aboje said.
Idakwo debunked the allegation of secretly obtaining the order of the Federal High Court to keep Kanu in custody, arguing that the law permitted the DSS to apply for such order only through ex parte application.
He also said the DSS had applied for the order before the accused was granted bail.
The magistrate fixed December 1 for ruling on the application for discontinuance of the charge.