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Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: NBA, Ohanaeze slam FG, DSS for barring lawyers, journalists from Courtroom

Access Bank
The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Thursday took a swipe at security agents for barring lawyers, journalists and Igbo leaders from the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.

The NBA spokesman, Raphulu Nduka; the pan-Igbo socio-cultural organisation, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo and senior lawyers, who spoke to newsmen said harassment of lawyers, and journalists at the trial was despicable and undemocratic.

Kanu, who is facing treasonable felony and terrorism charges, was on Thursday brought to the Federal High Court, Abuja amid tight security.

The leader of the separatist group, who has been facing trial since 2016, was granted bail in April 2017.

In September that year, he fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military.

On July 29, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, said he had been rearrested and brought back to the country.

The failure of the DSS to produce the IPOB leader at the scheduled proceedings on July 26 attracted condemnation by his lawyers and Igbo leaders.

On Thursday, as early as 4am, there were indications that Kanu would be brought to court as security agents consisting of the police, soldiers and Department of State Services operatives were deployed around the premises.

They blocked roads leading to the court and nearby streets including Shehu Shagari Way which leads to Transcorp Hilton Hotel.

Journalists, lawyers and staff of the FHC who started arriving at the court as early as 6am were barred by the security agents, who said they were acting on the order of the presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako.

This was the second time in three months that the Federal Government refused journalists access to cover the trial of Kanu.

Only July 26, only five lawyers each from the defence and prosecution teams were allowed to enter the court.

On Thursday, a security agent who addressed reporters at the entrance of Justice Nyako’s courtroom, explained that the instruction was that journalists should be confined to their press centre.

However, one of our correspondents learnt that the DSS did not send any list of journalists to the judge for approval.

Also barred from the court were a delegate of Igbo Lawyers Association and some Igbo leaders.

Our correspondents noticed that some lawyers, who tried to explain their reasons for turning up at the court were dismissed and harassed by the overzealous operatives.

Kanu’s lawyers, Ifeanyi Ejimofor, Alloy Ejimakor, Maxwell Opara and Fein Bruce his foreign counsel and two other lawyers were allowed to enter.

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