Biafra: Kanu's bid to stop trial hits brickwall
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Biafra: Kanu’s bid to stop trial hits brickwall

Biafra agitators allege plot to kill Nnamdi Kanu

An application by detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, asking for a stay of proceedings in his ongoing trial, was dismissed on Tuesday by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Ruling on the application, trial judge, Justice James Tsoho, said the application for stay of proceedings lacked merit and ordered that the trial would proceed in the mode the court had directed.

Kanu is facing a six counts chrge of treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and other offences bordering on his agitation for secession ‎of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.

Kanu applied for a stay of proceedings, claiming that the appeal he filed against a March 7, 2016 ruling of the court varying its earlier decision of February 19, 2016, by permitting prosecution witnesses to testify behind screen.

Justice Tsoho cited the provisions of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which prohibits courts from entertaining motions for stay of proceedings with respect to criminal cases.

According to the judge, the provision of the AXA is to enhance the right to speedy trial guaranteed an accused person in the Constitution.

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“Section 306 of ACJA removes hitches to speedy trial which is component of fair hearing,” Justice Tsoho ruled.

The judge also distinguished the trial of the Biafra agitators from that of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in which the Supreme Court last year after the advent of the ACJ Act, granted ‎an order for stay of proceedings in his (Saraki’s) trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Justice Tsoho held that the prevailing circumstances informing the decision of the Supreme Court to grant stay of proceedings in Saraki’s case were not available in the instant case.

Justice Tsoho further said that in Saraki’s case, the issue of whether the cases entertained by the CCT were criminal in nature or not was to be determined by the Supreme Court when the order of stay of proceedings was granted, was not available in the case before him.

‎He also insisted that it was not in doubt that the Federal High Court had jurisdiction to hear criminal cases.

The judge said further: “It is more so, given that the application for stay of proceedings is not founded on lack of intrinsic jurisdiction of this court but on mode of procedure to be adopted in the trial.”

The trial was adjourned till June 20 to 23.

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