THE Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday again adjourned a suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) against the State Security Services (SSS).
The separatist leader, who is being held in custody by the SSS, is seeking the court’s order compelling the agency to allow him unhindered access to his medical doctor, among others.
Hearing of the case was stalled on May 3, 2023 due to lawyers’ tardiness.
The judge, Justice Binta Nyako, who was displeased with the lawyers’ attitude, warned that she would not entertain further delays in the case. She then fixed Monday for the hearing.
But, on Monday, Justice Nyako was absent, as she was said to be away on official assignment.
Court officials then fixed June 20, 2023 for the adoption of final addresses. Parties are expected to make their closing arguments at the June hearing, after which the judge will fix a date for judgement.
Kanu sued SSS and its Director-General in the suit, which seeks a court order granting him unhindered access to his medical doctors in detention.
The SSS filed an objection against the suit, urging the court to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction. It argued that there was a subsisting judgement of a sister court delivered by a now-retired judge, Justice Taiwo Taiwo, on June 3, 2022, which, the agency said, had already issued an order allowing the IPOB leader access to his personal physician.
The SSS said Kanu’s fresh case was similar to the earlier one and that the IPOB leader also had an appeal relating to the judgement pending at the Court of Appeal.
The IPOB leader, through his lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, incessantly complained about his (Kanu’s) poor state of health in SSS custody.
Kanu has a pending application at the Supreme Court seeking an order either granting him bail or transferring him to the correctional centre for easy access to his lawyers and physicians. He was first arrested in 2015 and was later charged over his separatist campaigns for an independent Biafra Republic.
The Court of Appeal in Abuja dismissed the charges against the IPOB leader in a judgement last year but later allowed SSS to continue detaining him, pending the federal government’s appeal at the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has fixed 14 September for a hearing in the case.
Justice Nyako presided over the criminal trial against Kanu until the charges were dismissed by the Court of Appeal last year.