Nnamdi Kanu’s Application Challenging Competence of FG’s Charge, To Be heard on 10th November

Nnamdi Kanu next hearing

A Federal High Court, Abuja has fixed Nov. 10 for hearing the application of leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, challenging the competency of the charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Justice Binta Nyako, on Thursday, fixed the date after counsel to the IPOB leader, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, informed that he had a notice of preliminary objection challenging the fresh seven-count charge filed against his client.

Earlier, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Abubakar, told the court that an amended seven counts had already been filed and he prayed the court for the charges to be read to Kanu to take his plea.

Kanu is being charged for offences he was alleged to have committed between 2014 and 2021.

Part of the  counts read: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu, male, adult, of Afaraukwu lbeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, being the leader of the IIPOB 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.

“That you, Nnamdi Kanu, in London, United Kingdom between 2018 and 2021 on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu, Enugu State and FCT, Abuja, professed to be a member of IPOB, a proscribed organisation in Nigeria and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

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 “That you, Nnamdi Kanu, on the 22th of April, 2021 in London, United Kingdom on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu, Enugu State and other parts of Nigeria did an act of terrorism in that you incite the other members (followers) of the IPOB, a proscribed organisation in Nigeria, to look for security personnel, their family members through a Radio Biafra on 102.1FM monitored through the IPOB Community Radio and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act.

“That you, Nnamdi Kanu, on the 16thh of May, 2021, in London, United Kingdom did commit an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism by making a broadcast that ‘In 2 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) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

“That you, Nnamdi Kanu, on the 31st of May, 2021, in London, United Kingdom did an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism by issuing a deadly threat that anyone who flouted your sit-at-home order should “write his/her will,” as a result, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, fuel stations were not opened for businesses and vehicular movements grounded and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (2) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.”

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After the charges were read to him, the IPOB leader pleaded not guilty.

Justice Nyako, however, rejected a plea by Ejiofor for Kanu to be moved from the Department of State Services (DSS)’s custody to Kuje Correctional Centre, pending the determination of the suit.

Following the complaint by the legal team, the judge ordered that three people, of Kanu’s choice, be allowed to visit him every Thursday at the DSS facility.

Although journalists were not allowed into the courtroom by the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), Ejiofor briefed the media shortly after the proceeding.

He said a notice of preliminary objection filed to challenge the amended charge would be taken by the court on Nov. 10.

It will be recalled that the application filed Oct. 20 by Ejiofor, sought for two orders of the court.

“AN ORDER striking out/quashing and or dismissing the seven-count amended charge, specifically, counts 1 to 7 preferred against the defendant/applicant (Kanu) in the amended charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, for the reason that the counts, as constituted, are incompetent and thus, deprives the Honourable Court of jurisdiction to entertain the same.

“AN ORDER of the Honourable Court discharging and acquitting the defendant/applicant of all the counts in the seven-count amended charge preferred against the defendant/applicant, upon the same being struck out/quashed and/or dismissed,” it reads.

The application was filed on 31 grounds, among which were “that no allegation was made in any of the counts of the amended charge that the alleged sundry acts of the defendant/Aapplicant were physically carried out by him, within the geographical space or territorial boundaries of Nigeria; that the only element requisite to constitute and found liability for incitement is the actual words allegedly uttered by the defendant/applicant.”

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Journalists were denied access into the courtroom because according to the DSS, the leadership of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents (NAJUC) did not submit the names of its members to the security agencies for accreditation and entrance into the courtroom.

According to the officer, who did not mention his name, the Association of Journalists in this court agreed to prepare a list of members who will be allowed into the courtroom.

“They brought 39 names of journalists from different media organisations. However, the agreement was that out of these names, only five members would be allowed into the courtroom while others will stay at their Press Centre at the basement of the building due to the small capacity of the court.

“The five members were expected to brief others on development in the court.

“But as at the time the judge begins sitting, the leadership of the journalists union were yet to get us the names of those five members who will enter the courtroom.

So blame the Association for not allowing any journalist to enter despite they were all allowed into the Press Gallery,” he said.

There was pandemonium earlier today at the main entrance lawyers clashed with the DSS personnel over the refusal to allow them access.

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