Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges the Nigerian Government brought against him at a Federal High Court in Abuja, the country’s capital.
Kanu was brought to the court on Thursday, Oct. 21, months after security agents failed to provide him in his first trial since his arrest in June, citing logistics reasons.
The court session on Thursday began at 10 a.m. WAT with a heavy security presence, barring journalists and lawyers from accessing the premises.
Mohammed Abubakar, the prosecuting lawyer, said the charges against the IPOB leader had been raised to seven counts as against the five counts he was previously charged, bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.
When Justice Murtala-Nyako, the sitting judge, read the charges to him, Kanu pleaded not guilty.
Count one of the charge reads that Kanu “being the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 in London, United Kingdom, did broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other areas within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, preparations made by you and others now at large, for states in the South-East and South-South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states to secede from the federal republic of Nigeria with a view to constituting same into the Republic of Biafra and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 41(c) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP. C77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Count six of the amended charge reads: “That on the 16th of May , 2021 in London, United Kingdom within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit and act in furtherance if an act of terrorism by making a broadcast that “in two weeks time, what will happen will shake the world, people will die, the whole world will stand still mark my word” and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.”
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s lawyer, asked that his client be taken away from DSS custody and be detained in a correctional facility in Kuje, Abuja. But Justice Murtala-Nyako ordered that Kanu should remain in the Department of State Services (DSS) custody for safety reasons. The judge ordered the trial be adjourned till Nov. 10.
Kanu is standing charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms, and management of an unlawful society. In April 2017, he was granted bail but broke some conditions of the bail.
He fled the country after his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, Southeast Nigeria was invaded by the Nigerian military in Sept. 2017. But he was rearrested and extradited to Nigeria in June 2021.
He has been in custody after the judge, on June 29, ordered the DSS to detain him pending the determination of his trial.
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