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‘Prison not 5-star hotel’ — judge berates Kanu’s lawyer over ‘maximum comfort’ request

‘Prison not 5-star hotel’ — judge berates Kanu’s lawyer over ‘maximum comfort’ request
December 02
12:39 2021

A federal high court in Abuja has ordered the Department of States Services (DSS) to allow Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), to have the “maximum possible comfort” in its facility.

Kanu has been in the custody of the DSS since his extradition to Nigeria in June 2021.

His lawyers have consistently complained that about the poor conditions the IPOB leader is allegedly being subjected to.

Ifeanyi Ejiofor, senior counsel to Kanu, on November 16, said the separatist leader had not been allowed to change his clothes since he was arrested.

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At the court session on Thursday, Ejiofor, in an oral application, requested an order for his client to be given maximum comfort.

Ruling on the application, Binta Nyako, the presiding judge, said a custodial centre is not a “five-star hotel” where he can receive maximum comfort.

The judge however ordered the DSS to provide Kanu with the “maximum possible comfort”.

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She said he should be allowed to have a bath whenever he wants, change his clothes, eat properly and practice his faith.

CASE ABRIDGED 

At the last adjourned date, the judge had adjourned Kanu’s trial to January 19, 2022, after his lawyers walked out of the court in protest.

However, the legal team filed an application seeking an earlier date for the trial to hold.

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“We filed an application for abridgement of time. You know we were not in court when the date was fixed and we said we would go back and consider our options and the immediate option was to file an application for an abridgement of time,” Aloy Ejimakor, Kanu’s lawyer, told TheCable.

Following the application, the judge said the diary of the court was full and that the earliest possible date is January 18 — one day before the previous date given.

Although the lawyer tried to raise the issue of the application challenging the competence of the charge and jurisdiction of the court, the judge said it was not the matter for the day.

Nyako also issued a warning to Ejiofor to stop writing to her personally about his client’s case. She noted that he has written two different lengthy letters to her.

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KANU’S TRIAL

The federal government recently amended the charges against Kanu, raising them to seven counts as against the previous five counts.

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The IPOB leader has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In the past few years, IPOB’s agitation for the secession of the south-east has heightened. The tension in the region has resulted in the loss of lives and properties but IPOB has often denied being responsible for the attacks.

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Early in November, traditional and religious leaders in the south-east had asked the president to grant amnesty to Kanu to deescalate tension in the zone.

President Buhari said though the unconditional release of Kanu contradicts the doctrine of separation of powers between the executive and judiciary, he will consider it.

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