Hon. Barrister Essien has berated the judge handling the trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and three other activists over the ruling of the court made on December 13, 2016, which is in favour of a secret trial for the defendants.
Barrister E.I Essien, counsel to the Third Defendant while addressing the court during today’s proceedings, April 6, 2017, described as unlawful and an ‘injustice’ a secret trial of the accused persons as it denies them their inalienable constitutional right to a fair hearing.
“My Lord in the two sections mentioned, it is stated clearly that, none of the defendants committed crimes, to undergo secret trial,
“Section 36 sub 4 in 1999 constitution, describes mode of trial for all cases to be public trial. The law does not give you the right to even talk about secret trial,
“Terrorism is no more part of this case, as you struck it out my lord, hence there is no room for secret trial,
“All parties, including the Prosecutor and defendants are equal before the court, and must be treated the same way.
“My Lord, we humbly ask that the Court should grant this application.
My Lord, any attempt to conduct a secret trial, is totally Injustice,” Hon. Barrister Essien stated.
The Judge, infuriated over the use of the word, “INJUSTICE” ordered the defense lawyer to withdraw it.
However, Barrister E.I Essien replied,
“My Lord, but it is the right word to make use of.
Its alright, I withdraw it.”
Meanwhile, Barrister Chukwu .S. Asonu, appearing for the Fourth defendant, standing for Barrister Maxwell Okpara who is currently hospitalized following a Surgical Operation carried out on him, adopted the application, filed by the first defendant.
“My Lord, we adopt Ugwuanyi and Nixon Insurance PLC 2013. We are relying on this to urge you to grant the application to review and set aside the orders of this honourable court made on the 13th day of December 2016 on secret trial,” he stated.
In objection, the prosecuting counsel to the Nigeria government, S.I Labaran asked the court to quash the applications against secret trial. He said:
“Although we have not filed any process, we want this court to refuse the application against secret trial, so that we can make progress in this case.”
In her ruling, the judge who had earlier denied the request of the third defendant (Benjamin Madubugwu) for the release of his car seized by agents of Nigeria Department of State Services, however ordered for the wedding ring and glasses belonging to the first defendant(Nnamdi Kanu), to be returned to him pending the money seized from him.
The judge afterwards adjourned ruling on the application filed against secret trial and bail to April 25, 2017.
Family Writers correspondent reporting live from federal high court Abuja Nigeria