The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, has dismissed the amended seven-count terrorism charge the Federal Government preferred against him, describing it as baseless and ill-advised.
Kanu, who is currently in custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, through his team of lawyers, maintained that the amended charge was the same that was recently struck out by the Court of Appeal.
He alleged that FG “surreptitiously” and “clandestinely” amended the charge, hours after the October 13 judgement of the Court of Appeal that discharged him of all the allegations and ordered his release from detention.
The amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, which was entered before the Federal High Court in Abuja, contained all allegations against the IPOB leader that were earlier sustained by the trial court.
Specifically, FG, in the charge, alleged that Kanu who is currently in custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, had as a member of an unlawful group, in a broadcast that was received and heard across Nigeria, issued a deadly threat that anyone who flouted his sit-at home order in the South Eastern part of the country, should write his or her Will.
It told the court that as a result of the threat; Banks, Schools, Markets, Shopping Malls, Fuel Stations domiciled in the Eastern States of Nigeria, have continued to shut down their businesses, with citizens and vehicular movements grounded.
FG further alleged that the IPOB leader had on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made broadcasts that were received and heard in Nigeria, inciting members of the public to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel and their family members, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
It told the court that Kanu, directed members of the IPOB “to manufacture Bombs”, adding that the defendant had between the month of March and April 2015, “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 thereby committed an offence contrary to section 47 (2) (a) of Criminal Code Act Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.
The embattled IPOB leader had previously pleaded not guilty to the charge, even as he was subsequently discharged by the appellate court.
Both Kanu’s legal team and FG’s lawyers are expected to re-appear before trial Justice Binta Nyako on Monday.
The parties are to argue on whether FG could proceed to re-arraign the IPOB leader on the amended charge, despite the Court of Appeal judgement, as well as appeals on the subject matter that are currently pending before the Supreme Court.
According to Vanguard’s report, Kanu, in a press statement that was signed by a senior member of his defence team, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, decried that FG had yet to serve him with a copy of the seven-count amended charge.
“From all indications, the new alleged charge has the same Charge No. FHC/ABJ/ER/383/2015, as the one already pronounced upon and struck out by the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division.
“The said intermediate court completely discharged Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu; and further prohibited his being tried or prosecuted in any court of law in Nigeria.
“The said judgment of the Court of Appeal is extant and still subsists till date; and has not been set aside by any superior court.
“Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’ s formidable team ably by the oracle of the Law – Chief Ozekhome SAN – has already promptly appealed to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s ruling staying execution of its own judgment which had set Kanu free.
“The Appeal in respect thereto has been duly entered in Appeal No. SC/CR/1394/2022, at the Supreme Court, and is now awaiting a date for hearing.
“It is also worthy to note that this judgment of the Court of Appeal still stands till date as same has not been set aside by the Supreme Court.
“It is imperative to state therefore that on the strength of this judgment, no charge of whatever nature, and under any guise, can ever be presented or stand against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu before any court of law in Nigeria.
“Our inquiry this evening upon reading about the phantom charge in the social media, revealed to us that the rumored charge was surreptitiously but clandestinely filed by the Federal Government hours after the judgment of the Court of Appeal was delivered on the 13th Day of October, 2022. This was even before it had received a certified true copy of the said judgment of the Court of Appeal.
“The filing of the said charge was clearly ill-informed and ill-advised, because the Prosecutor (Federal Government), we presume and may want to believe, was not at that point in time aware of the details, full import and implication, of the well delivered judgment of the Court of Appeal, at the time of filing the said charge.
“We also want to believe that this is what has led to Federal Government’s abandonment of the charge after it was hurriedly filed.
“It is pertinent to note also that the Federal Government did not take any step to either serve the charge on our Client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu – or on our erudite lead Counsel – Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN – after it was filed; even till this moment.
“This to doubly assure UMUCHINEKE that our legal team eminently led by the legal icon of our time – Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN – will be in court on Monday, the 14th of November, 2022, to tackle any underhand tactics or results the Federal Government may have planned to achieve by sleight of hand, with a charge which has been pronounced dead like “dodo”; and permanently buried”, the statement read.