A Federal High Court in Abuja has struck out the application submitted by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu requesting to stay proceedings on his trial until the ruling on his appeal is given.
Nnamdi Kanu alongside two other defendants, are on trial for a six-count charge of treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and other offences bordering on their agitation for secession of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.
Kanu had approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja to challenge the decision of a High Court also in Abuja which granted the request of the prosecution to shield their witnesses from members of the public during the trial.
Also, in effect to the appeal, Kanu had also filed an application at the High Court requesting the court to hold on proceedings until the appellate court gives its ruling.
However, the presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho, ruled that the application for stay of proceedings lacked merit and ordered that the trial would proceed in the mode earlier directed by the court.
Tsoho drew his ruling from the provisions of Section 306 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which prohibits courts from entertaining a motion for stay of proceedings with respect to criminal cases.
As against the arguments of Kanu’s lawyer, Chuks Muoma (SAN), the judge said that the provision of Section 306 of ACJA could not deny an accused person fair hearing.
“Section 306 of ACJA removes hitches to speedy trial which is component of fair hearing”, Tsoho held.
Tsoho declared that Kanu’s trial would proceed in the mode directed by the March 7 ruling which would shield the identity of the witnesses from the public but not allow them to wear masks.
The case was adjourned till June 20 to June 23 for trial.