American lawyer of Nnamdi Kanu, Bruce Fein, yesterday, threatened to drag Nigeria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged gross violation of his client’s rights.
Fein was in court, yesterday, to monitor the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) but was denied access into the courtroom.
Speaking with journalists after the proceedings, Fein said: “Today (yesterday) was the fifth time I was told I could not enter the courtroom despite the court’s previous order that Nnamdi could have access to any three persons he wants to.
“I had the chance to talk briefly to him on my way to the courtroom. It is clear that I am the target in particular. That’s the reason why this proceeding did not transpire today. And I’m here to tell Nigerians and the international community that I’m taking this to international tribunals. It is clear that the Nigerian tribunals are compromised.”
He said he would petition “the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Geneva, the International Court of Justice in the Hague, the ICC in the Hague and I’ll be going to the United States Congress and urging that sanctions be considered against Nigeria for gross violations of fundamental human rights.
“I’m here not to be an irritant but there are huge international law issues that are present in Nnamdi Kanu’s case. I’m here because I’m an international expert to provide more enlightenment on what legal issues are present here,” Fein added.
Meanwhile, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s lead counsel, said the legal team did not walk out of the court, instead, they were locked out.
Asked why they decided to stage a walkout on the judge, Ejiofor said because the DSS officers insisted only five of their lawyers would be allowed into the courtroom.
He said more than 50 lawyers, who were with them in solidarity and also part of their team, came to the court.
He, however, said though about eight of them, including his client’s American lawyer, had planned to enter the court, the security officers insisted only five would gain access.
“And we are more than seven or eight of us here. We have people representing several groups in here who are lawyers. We have Nnamdi Kanu’s attorney from the US here also,” he said.
Ejiofor explained that while they were trying to sort out the issue with the DSS officers, the judge came in “and knocked us out, all of us.”
He said Justice Nyako should have tried to inquire from the defence lawyers what really transpired.
“The attention was called to this that we are outside the court protesting about what they are doing to lawyers; they couldn’t allow us in.”
He, however, said what transpired in court were yet to be made known to them before the court adjourned the matter, claiming that happened in court was the height of privacy of justice.
He said they planned to restrategise on their next line of action.
“Obviously, I don’t think we are going to continue with this court. Most likely, we are going to take it up from there.By virtue of what transpired today, I don’t think we still have the confidence in the ability of the court to deliver justice in this case,” he said.
Meanwhile, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Abubakar, has prayed the court to dismiss all the pending applications that were filed by Kanu’s legal team.
He reminded that the court had, in the last adjourned date, fixed Nov. 10 to take the defence application.
“Having decided to stage a walkout on the court, I urge my lord to dismiss the defendant’s pending applications,” he prayed.
But the judge declined to grant the oral application made by prosecuting lawyer.
“Staging a walkout on the court is a very serious offence.
“I will not dismiss the applications; let them be in the case file. But discuss with your lawyers so that their attitude can change,” the judge told Kanu.
Justice Nyako, therefore, stated that individuals seeking to attend the IPOB leader’s trial must write her court for consideration.
A diplomat from the British High Commission, who was in the courtroom to observe proceedings, said she had written the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice John Tsoho, seeking his consent to attend the sitting.
Though the judge allowed the diplomat to be in the courtroom while proceeding lasted, she said: “If you need to observe proceedings in my court, you must apply to me.
“But for the high respect I have for my Chief Judge, I will allow you for today.”
Justice Nyako then adjourned the matter until January 19 and J 20, 2022, for trial continuation.