By Favour Goodness
The Department of State Services (DSS) has refused to obey court orders granting Nnamdi Kanu maximum comfort in detention, change of clothing, amongst others, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lead counsel for the embattled Indigenous People of Biafra leader, has said.
The lawyer, in a statement, kicked that the detaining agency has “unrepentantly continued to treat the orders of the court with greatest disdain”.
It had earlier reported that Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered on December 2, 2021 that the secessionist leader should not be discriminated against in the custody of the secret police.
The presiding judge had also ordered that Kanu be given maximum comfort possible in detention, be allowed a change of clothing, be allowed free practice of his Jewish faith including access to his Jewish religious materials, allowed to receive any visitor of his choice, and allowed to mingle freely with other inmates in DSS custody.
Justice Nyako also adjourned the trial of Kanu till January 18, 2022, after granting a motion for an abridgement of time.
But Ejiofor said he visited Kanu in DSS custody on Monday, saying that despite the orders made by the court on December 2, 2021, the DSS flouted and ignored the court orders.
The statement was titled, ‘Update On Today’s Visit To Our Indefatigable Client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu At The Headquarters Of The Department Of State Services (DSS) Abuja’.
He wrote, “We were informed by our client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu that none of the pronouncement made by the Court on the 2nd of December 2021 has been obeyed by the lawless DSS. They have unrepentantly continued to treat the Orders of the Court with greatest disdain.
“Our client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu further informed us that he had not eaten anything since Sunday, apparently being punished because we dared to complain to the court about the harsh condition under which he is being held in custody. But, very, unfortunately, this should be the height of their reckless affront to the orders of court.
“At the time Her Lordship made these far-reaching orders in open court, I did not mince words in bringing to the attention of the court that the operatives of the DSS will flout these orders, pursuant to which the court specifically directed me to come back to her with these facts if her order is flouted by the detaining authority.”
He said the legal team of the IPOB leader would be approaching the court immediately with the development, which he described as “totally unacceptable, grossly condemnable, and intolerable.”
Ejiofor insisted that Kanu has not been convicted for committing any crime and he is still presumed innocent of every allegation against him.
“The detaining authority (DSS) is an Agency clearly established by instrumentality of the laws and should operate within the confines of the same laws establishing them, and should not be seen as a lawless entity, which unfortunately is what they represent in practice,” he said.
Kanu, 54, was born on September 25, 1967, at Afaraukwu, Abia State. He had been arrested in 2017 for demanding the secession of the South-East zone from the Nigerian State.
However, he jumped bail in June 2018 before leaving for the United Kingdom, though he said that he fled because his life was no longer safe in Nigeria.
After about three years abroad, the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), at a press briefing in Abuja on June 29, 2021, announced that the IPOB leader was re-arrested in a foreign country and extradited to Nigeria.
His lawyers had said the IPOB leader was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria.
Upon his re-arrest and extradition in June 2021, he was re-arraigned before Justice Nyako for terrorism-related charges brought against him by the AGF office. Kanu has since been remanded in the DSS custody in Abuja and has since appeared in the same cloth he wore at the time of his arrest.
Meanwhile, the AGF has said that it is premature to pardon Kanu, adding that the IPOB leader is still standing trial for terrorism-related charges.
On November 19, 2021, some respected Igbo elders, led by Minister of Aviation in the First Republic, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, visited the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) in Aso Rock and requested the unconditional release of the detained secessionist leader.
Buhari had told them he would not want to interfere in the running of the judiciary but said he would consider their demand though “a heavy one.”
Malami had also on November 10, 2021, said a political solution cannot be ruled out to resolve the crisis surrounding separatist agitations in Nigeria but he recently made a U-turn and said the option is not on the table yet.