Nigeria’s Department of State Security (DSS) today failed to produce Nnamdi Kanu, the “director” of Radio Biafra, before a magistrate court in Abuja.
Kanu, whose group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are campaigning for secession from Nigeria, was arrested in Lagos on 17 October. He was meant to be standing trial after being charged with criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to unlawful society. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The trial could not continue today because the defendant was not in court and no reason was provided by the DSS for the failure to bring Kanu to court.
The magistrate adjourned the case until 23 November, demanding that the defendant be produced.
In another twist, two lawyers showed up claiming to be defending Kanu. One of them, Gabriel Egbule, claimed he was the one who handled Kanu’s bail application. It appears that Kanu’s parents had engaged the services of another lawyer. If Kanu had showed up in court, he would have been able to identify who was representing him.
The failure to produce Kanu is likely to fuel the tensions in the southeast of Nigeria, where many protests have been held by pro-Biafrans demanding “freedom” from Nigeria and freedom for Kanu.