The federal government of Nigeria has finalised plans to re-arraign Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on an amended six-count treasonable felony charge.
The amendment came on the same day that Justice Binta Nyako scheduled a hearing for Kanu’s application to be released on bail pending the outcome of the charge against him.
FG had listed some lawyers representing the embattled IPOB leader, including Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Mr. Maxwell Opara, as accomplices of the defendant in the amended charge, according to a member of Kanu’s legal team who requested anonymity.
According to Vanguard, FG alleges that the said lawyers were in constant contact with Kanu after he jumped bail and fled the country.
Kanu was later re-arrested and returned to Nigeria from Kenya under controversial circumstances.
On April 8, Trial Justice Binta Nyako dismissed eight of the 15 counts of treasonable felony charges filed by the FG against Kanu.
The charges, according to Justice Nyako, were merely repetitions that did not reveal any offence that could be supported by the evidence presented in court.
In the counts that were dismissed, the FG claimed that Kanu had incited members of the public to not only stage a violent revolution, but also to attack police officers and destroy public facilities in Lagos State, through his broadcasts.
While counts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 of the charge were dismissed, the court approved Kanu’s trial on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 15.
The decision came after Kanu filed an application to quash the entire charge against him, which he claimed was manifestly incompetent and legally flawed.
Through his lawyers, led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the IPOB leader argued that the court lacked jurisdiction to try him on the basis of incompetence.
Ozekhome (SAN) went on to say that his client was “illegally, brutally, and extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya without his consent.”
He argued that the high court lacked jurisdiction to hear the charge because some of the allegations FG levelled against Kanu were allegedly committed outside the country.
“The charges appear to grant this court broad jurisdiction over alleged offences committed by the Defendant, without specifying the location or date of the alleged offences.”
He argued that under the Federal High Court Act, such a charge must include the precise location of the crime.
Furthermore, Ozekhome argued that Kanu could not be charged with being a member of an illegal organisation because the FG’s action in prohibiting the IPOB is still being litigated in the Court of Appeal and is thus pending.
As a result, he requested that the charge be dismissed, as well as the defendant’s discharge and acquittal.
Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, FG’s lawyer, opposed the application and urged the court to allow the prosecution to begin its investigation.
Kanu’s application, he argued, would affect the substance of the case, which had yet to be heard.
“At this time, the IPOB is a proscribed organisation that was properly proscribed through the legal process.”
He claimed that Section 32 of the Terrorism Prevention Act gave the court the necessary authority to hear the case.
On Kanu’s request for bail, Ozekhome argued that the amended charge contained bailable offences, while FG’s lawyer, Labaran, argued that the defendant betrayed the court’s previous discretion by jumping bail and fleeing the country.
He claimed that the court revoked Kanu’s bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest because of his behaviour.
In some of the charges that were upheld by the court, the FG claimed that Kanu issued a deadly threat in his broadcast that was received and heard in Nigeria, saying that anyone who disobeyed his sit-at-home order should write their Will.
Read Also : Angry Students destroy school property after principal fled with WAEC funds, put school up for sale.
It told the court that as a result of the threat, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, and fuel stations in the Eastern States of Nigeria were closed to the public, and citizens’ and vehicular movements were halted in the region.
It was alleged that Kau made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria on various dates between 2018 and 2021, inciting members of the public to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel and their family members, thereby violating Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
While the FG claimed in count-8 that Kanu directed IPOB members to “manufacture bombs,” it claimed in count-15 that the defendant “imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, a Radio Transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which you declared as used household items, and you declared as used household items, and you declared as used