The trial of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has been postponed until January after his lead lawyer was barred from entering the courtroom along with the rest of his team of advocates on Wednesday.
Kanu, the head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), pleaded not guilty to seven accusations against President Muhammadu Buhari, including “terrorism,” treason, and spreading misinformation.
Kanu’s attorneys expected to contest the charges’ competency, but they were denied entry into the courtroom by state security officials.
“I have not seen such a travesty of justice,” said lead lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor to the media outside the courtroom.
“If you are accused of a crime, you have the right to counsel. And he has been denied access to me five times,” concurred Bruce Fein, Kanu’s lawyer from the United States, who was among those refused entrance. He went on to claim that the Nigerian courts could not be “trusted.”
Journalists were also once again prohibited from entering the courtroom by security guards. However, Reuters succeeded to acquire a court tape in which the judge is heard asking Kanu whether he wanted the trial to continue without his lawyers present. “No, my Lord,” he replied.
Kanu was first presented in court in Abuja on June 29 after allegedly being detained under an unsavory condition in Kenya. However, the nation has denied any involvement.
The proceedings on Wednesday lasted 20 minutes, and the trial has been rescheduled for January 19 and 20 of next year.