A federal high court sitting in Abuja has dismissed the application of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), seeking a stay of proceedings pending determination of his appeal.
Kanu had approached the appellate court challenging the earlier decision of the court upholding the prosecution’s request to shield their witnesses from members of the public during trial.
The judge, Justice John Tsoho, held 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 relied on 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.
Contrary to the contention of Chuks Muoma (SAN), Kanu’s lawyer, Tsoho held that the provision of section 306 of ACJA could not deny an accused person fair hearing.
The judge held that the provision of the ACJA was to enhance the right to speedy trial, guaranteed an accused person in the constitution. “Section 306 of ACJA removes hitches to speedy trial, which is component of fair hearing,” he said.
He noted that there was no dispute as to the jurisdiction of the court to try the matter, but added that the trial of Mr. Kanu will continue unless an order from a judicial authority disallows its continuation.
Kanu and his co-defendants are standing trial on 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.