Saturday 29th April, 2017
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Judge introduces Sharia Law in Nnamdi Kanu's trial

Judge introduces Sharia Law in Nnamdi Kanu's trial

The ongoing trial of the leader of the In­digenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, took a new dimen­sion on Monday when Jus­tice Binta Nyako of the Fed­eral High Court introduced Sharia Law into it.
 
Justice Nyako’s action was prompted by a move by Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ej­iofor, against the shielding of witnesses in the Federal Government’s prosecution of his client and three others.
At yesterday’s proceed­ings, Ejiofor had attempted to move an application for variation in the court’s ear­lier order on the shielding of witnesses.
He also fumed that an or­der made by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of a similar court is yet to be obeyed, arguing that “an order of the court is law.”
 
But Justice Nyako de­clared that the bail appli­cations do not stall the tri­al of the accused persons who will still be tried based on her order which is predi­cated on the protection and shielding of witnesses.
“Nothing can change my order in the protection of the witnesses,” she added.
The judge thereafter asked if Ejiofor studied a part of the Sharia Law while in school, stressing that if he had done so, he would have learned more about the protection of witnesses.
Justice Nyako added that Ejiofor would have also known that a woman’s identity is pro­tected in court in the context of the Sharia Law.
She therefore held that the witnesses will wear masks and must not be facially identified if body movements want to be taken into consideration by members of the public, else, the court will divide itself with a non-transparent material against public view.
She added that as long as the witnesses are security agents, their identities will be protected for the sake of the fu­ture, while non-security agents will be seen by members of the public.
“I am not ready to jeopard­ise the protection of the securi­ty operatives,” she declared.
The court thereafter fixed April 6, 2017 to rule on Kanu’s application seeking the var­iation of its order on witness protection.
Prior to this, Ejiofor had held that since the allegations bordering on treasonable fel­ony and criminal conspiracy had been struck out on the last adjourned date, Kanu was no longer a security risk and asked the court to grant him bail.
Ejiofor told the court the bail earlier granted by anoth­er court of equal jurisdiction was attached, including a let­ter written to the Comptroller-General of Nigerian Prisons over the deteriorating health of Kanu.
He further said that the ac­cused, who is an international­ly-recognised person with no criminal record, will not jump bail provided there would be provision for a guarantor.
The counsel to the second defendant, Mr. Udoka, howev­er, cited several authorities and related cases where bail was granted to accused persons in their course of trial. He also ob­jected to the paragraph 3(j) of a counter-affidavit filed by the federal government, which stated that it was in the inter­est of the accused to remain in prison custody.
He pointed out that he was barred from seeing his client in prison by agents of the State Se­curity Service (SSS) who could have acted on the directive of the prosecution since such or­ders did not emanate from the court.
In line with the argument for bail, the 4th defence coun­sel, Mr. Maxwell Okpara, com­mended the court for striking out six charges against the de­fendant in the last adjourned date, an act which is commend­ed by the whole world, but held that the restriction of the ac­cused persons in prison custo­dy is of more threat to nation­al security than releasing them.
The government’s counsel, Mr. Labaran Shuaibu, objected to the bail applications. He ar­gued that they were predicated on an extinct Criminal Proce­dure Act (CPA) and therefore asked the court to refuse the bail applications.
The judge adjourned till April 6, 2017 for the review of the order on witness protection and April 25, 2017 for ruling on the bail applications.

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