ABUJA (Sundiata Post) – Fresh battle over the true legal representation of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, has created uncertainty over the state of his ongoing trial at the Federal High Court (FHC) sitting in Abuja.
Two legal practitioners, Mr. Gabriel Egbule and Mr. Vincent Obetta, contracted by Kanu’s wife and father respectively, have clashed earlier at Abuja Chief Magistrate court over the issue of counsel representation.
But many who taught the issue has been resolved were left disappointed on Monday at the FHC where Egbule came for a trial that could not hold, contrary to the date agreed by Obetta.
After people who came to court for the hearing of the case, which has been re-assigned to Justice John Tsoho of FHC Abuja left disappointed at the “no show”, Obetta informed Sundiata Post that he was not aware that the case was slated for hearing on Monday.
“I am not aware of any case or hearing being slated today,” he said.
It was gathered that Egbule who was at the time of Kanu’s arraignment at the magistrate court, claimed that he had instructions from Kanu’s wife to represent him; Obetta, who is an Enugu-based legal practitioner, on the other hand, claimed that he received instructions from Kanu’s father to defend him (Kanu).
This has created uncertainty and power play between the two legal practitioners, with family members and Biafra agitators working to resolve the situation.
[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″] “What you are seeing now is similar to what happened during the late MKO Abiola period when FRA Williams and another legal team were battling to represent him. Meanwhile, what is playing out is their internal family matters, which I think the lawyers should try to insulate themselves from,” a source told Sundiata Post.
The Federal Governmnet had filed six-count charges against Kanu, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi bordering on treasonable felony.
When the matter came up for hearing, Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court withdrew from the trial and returned the case file to the Chief Judge of the court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, for re-assignment to another judge.
This followed an objection by Kanu, who spoke from the dock where he stood along with his two co-defendants, saying that he lacked confidence of getting a fair trial from the judge.
While Kanu was accused of, among other offences, management of an unlawful society, the Indigenous People of Biafra, Madubugwu and Nwawuisi were accused of assisting in the management of the said unlawful group.
In a related development, IPOB members have accused the military of brutality and killing of their members engaged in peaceful protests in Port Harcourt and Aba.
“One of my IPOB fans called minutes ago that IPOB in South East and South South in Port Harcourt on peaceful protests are being shot by the military. That dead bodies of South East/South Southerners are being pulled into trucks still counting please,” a concerned lawyer told Sundiata Post.
Also a report from Aba, Abia State, said the commercial towm was on Monday afternoon thrown into pandemonium as a clash between security agents and demonstrating members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) left at least three Biafra activists dead.
Reports from an online medium News Express had it that soldiers shot and killed three protesters at Mosque by York in the city centre. The development caused panic in the city as many traders hurriedly closed down their businesses and fled for their lives.
Soldiers were said to have descended on the protesters with force after the pro-Biafra agitators had allegedly snatched three guns from soldiers during their clash at Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway.
IBOP, which had served noticed of its impending protest on Monday, was said to have attempted to block the Aba-Port Harcourt Expressway when they kicked off their protest Monday morning.
It was gathered that a combined team of security agents confronted them and succeeded in dispersing them with tear gas.
However, the protesters, after beating a retreat, re-grouped at the city centre where they made bonfires with tyres.
Reports said that it was at this point that the soldiers exerted force in dispersing the protesters, allegedly angered by the loss of their guns.
The combined team of security personnel were said to have mounted heavy security at the city centre and ordered passers-by to raise their hands up before they could pass the security barricade. A source said that the security agents seized and beat up any persons they suspected to an IPOB member and bundled the suspects into their vehicles.
A witness claimed that the casualties were not IPOB members but innocent persons and called on the Abia State Government to take urgent steps to control the security situation in Aba before it snowballs into a riot.
Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, Onyeke Udeviotu, when contacted, confirmed that there was a clash between security agents and protesters in Aba but denied knowledge of any casualties.