By Jude Atupulazi
Expectations that the leader of the proscribed pro-Biafra group, the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, would be granted bail at last Thursday’s emergency hearing were dashed when Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja shifted the trial of Kanu, from January 19 to 18 next year.
The shift in the trial date followed the abridgment of time granted by the judge following a passionate plea to that effect.
Before then news was rife that following the appeal by some Igbo leaders led by First Republic politician, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi to President Muhammed Buhari during their visit to release Kanu.
Although the president had described their plea as difficult, the emergency sitting of the court fixed for last Thursday raised hopes that the visit of the Igbo leaders had yielded fruit. But it was not to be.
Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had approached the court with an application seeking an order of the court to accommodate the trial in November and December this year as against the earlier fixed January 19.
Shuaib Labaran, who stood for the Federal Government, however, told the court that a counter affidavit opposing the request by the government had been filed and served on Kanu.
Justice Nyako however cut in and informed Kanu’s lawyer that the application for time abridgment could not be considered because there was no judicial time for such an issue.
In the drama that ensued, the case diary of the court was read to the lawyer to establish that the court had other cases to attend to.
However, following the insistence, Justice Nyako agreed to shift other cases slated for January 18 to accommodate the trial which will last till January 19 and 20.
Justice Nyako ordered the Directorate of State Services, DSS, to allow Kanu to practice his faith, change his clothes, and be given the maximum possible comfort in the detention facility.