By Uche Amunike
The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, will likely remain in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, for the duration of their annual vacation of the Federal High Court Judges as their annual recess commences on July 26th and ends on September 17th, 2021.
It partly read: ‘Pursuant to the provisions of Order 46, Rule 4(d) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho announces to Hon judges, stakeholders and the general public, that the Federal High Court will proceed on its annual vacation for the year 2021 from Monday the 26th day of July 2021 to Friday the 17th September 2021.’
This, the statement said, was necessary so as to make the judges get enough rest and prepare themselves for the new legal year in September.
The statement implied that only the main divisions of Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt will be functional during the vacation, noting that only cases of extreme urgency such as the arrest of ship(s) and Fundamental Rights Enforcement are to be entertained.
The vacation judges that will work during the vacation are Justice A.R. Mohammed and Justice O.E. Egwuatu for Abuja division; Justice I. N. Oweibo and Justice Tijjani Ringim for Lagos division while Justice S.D Pam and Justice A.T. Muhammed will sit in Port Harcourt.
Recall that the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu‘s trial was adjourned to July 26 and 27 by Justice Binta Nyako.
It should also be recalled that the Nigerian Judiciary lost two months to an industrial action that crippled the Nigerian Judiciary early in the year. With the enormous backlog of cases which slowed down the Justice administration system in the country, Nigerians expected that judges will cancel this year’s vacation, having only recently resumed work after the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria, JUSUN, shut down courts across the country for about 64 days to press for the financial Independence of the judiciary.
Relatively, in early 2020, despite losing two months to the COVID-19 lockdown, judges went ahead to take their two months vacation for the year.
The president of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Olumide Akpata initially opposed JUSUN’s decision to embark on strike in April, noting that Nigerian courts were trying to play catch-up for lost time as a result of the prolonged lull in judicial activities, due to the COVID-19 scourge and enforced lockdowns.
In spite of all these, however, Nigerian judges are getting set to embark on another 2 months break from July to September which brings it to a total of four months off work, for the year 2021.
From the look of things, the embattled IPOB leader, Nnamdi, Kanu will most likely have to remain in custody until the courts become functional in September.