IPOB: Court postpones Nnamdi Kanu’s trial

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has adjourned proceedings in the trial of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Mr Kanu is being prosecuted by the Nigerian government for treasonable felony and terrorism — offences he allegedly committed in the course of his secessionist campaigns.

The trial judge, Binta Nyako, on May 18, adjourned the suit until May 26, after she rejected Mr Kanu’s bail request.

In a statement on Wednesday, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the lawyers to Mr Kanu, announced the postponement of the case.

He said the trial has been adjourned to June 28 for a hearing and ruling on an application by the IPOB leader, challenging the arrest warrant that was issued against him by the court when he jumped bail.

“Please be informed that we have just received communication from the Federal High Court’s Registrar, notifying us that the Court will no longer be sitting tomorrow, 26th May, 2022, on Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s case.

“According to the Registrar, this is because His lordship, Justice Binta Nyako is indisposed, and as such, the matter is now adjourned to the 28th day of June 2022 for Ruling/Hearing,” Mr Ejiofor said in the statement.

He urged IPOB supporters to “maintain restraint, as you have always done.”

Previous hearing

At the last sitting, the court struck out an amended six-count charge that the government prosecutor, K.E. Kaswe, filed against the IPOB leader.

Mr Kaswe withdrew the amended charge after his futile efforts to get Mr Kanu re-arraigned on the new set of charges.

Earlier, the judge dismissed the defendant’s bail request on the grounds that Mr Kanu violated the bail conditions earlier granted him.

Mr Kanu who was first arrested in 2015 over his separatist activities has been re-arraigned before three different judges of the federal court in Abuja since the first set of charges were filed against him and his former co-defendants on December 18, 2015.

He was rearrested and forcibly returned to Nigeria from Kenya in June 2021, which his lawyers termed “extraordinary rendition.”

But delivering her ruling, the judge said Mr Kanu’s arrest in Kenya and extradition to Nigeria were in compliance with her order in 2018 for Mr Kanu’s arrest to face trial after he jumped bail in September 2017.

“There is a bench warrant for the arrest of the defendant (Mr Kanu). He is a fugitive that is wanted in court. The bench warrant survives until he is brought to court,” Mrs Nyako had said.

However, in his argument before the judge, Mr Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, said the IPOB lawyer did not jump bail.

Mr Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said Mr Kanu’s hometown– Afaranukwu Ibeku in Abia State, was invaded by the Nigerian military “where 28 people were mowed down” during the invasion.

“In order to avoid being killed by the invading forces,” he said, “Mr Kanu escaped for his life.”

He urged the court to vacate the order of arrest that was issued against Mr Kanu.

Below are the full details of the seven sustained charges and the eight counts that were struck out by the court:

SUSTAINED CHARGES

PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mrs Nyako, in a ruling on April 8, validated the federal government’s forceful return of Mr Kanu from Kenya to face the charges pending against him in Nigeria.

The judge ordered that the case proceeds to trial on Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13 and 15.

Five of the sustained charges have to do with alleged acts of terrorism, including professing to be a member and leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation, issuing inciteful and deadly threats against individuals, and issuing directives, among others.

Count 15 has to do with the illegal importation of a radio transmitter he declared as used household items in violation of section 47 (2) (a) of the Criminal Code Act. Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

Full details of the counts:

Count 1

The prosecution alleged that Mr Kanu, of Afara Ukwu, Umuhahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, as a member of and leader of proscribed IPOB sometimes in September 2021, committed an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people by allegedly making a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with intent to intimidate the population, threatened that the people would die and that the whole world would standstill. The offence is said to be punishable under section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2015.

Count 2

The prosecution accused him of committing “an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism” against Nigeria and its people made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of the court with intent to intimidate the population, and issued a death threat against anyone who flouted his sit-at-home order.”

Mr Kanu allegedly ordered that whoever flouted the order should “write his/her will”, and as a result banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, and fuel stations domiciled in the eastern states of Nigeria must not open for business. Citizens, and vehicular movements, in the eastern states of Nigeria, the prosecution said, were grounded as a result of the sit-at-home order.

The prosecution said the offence is punishable under section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act (2013).

Count 3

The prosecution also alleged that “on diverse dates” between 2018 and 2021 within the jurisdiction of this court, Mr Kanu professed himself to be a member and leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation in Nigeria.
This, the prosecution, said was an offence contrary to and punishable under section 16 of the Terrorism Prevision Amendment Act 2015.

Count 4

M Kanu also, allegedly, on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria inciting members of the public in Nigeria in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel.

The offence, according to the prosecution, is punishable under section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.

Count 5

Mr Kanu, also on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, allegedly made a broadcast, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, inciting members of the public in Nigeria to hunt and kill families of Nigerian security personnel.

The offence is said to be punishable under 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.

Count 13

Mr Kanu alleged, between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with the intent to incite violence, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, and directed members of the public to burn down every federal facility in Lagos resulting in major economic loss to the federal government.
The alleged offences, the prosecution says, are punishable under section 1(2) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment) Act 2013.

Court 15

The prosecution also alleged that on diverse dates between March and April 2015, Mr Kanu was illegally imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisluzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, a radio transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which he declared as used household items.


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The alleged offence was said to be contrary to section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act CapC45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.

STRUCK OUT CHARGES

Counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 struck out by the judge are all terrorism charges relating to his alleged inciting broadcast between 2018 and 2021.

The said broadcasts allegedly incited members of the public to harm or kill security personnel, and “destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria by inviting members of the public to stop the Anambra State elections.”

He also allegedly incited members of the public to destroy or burn down transport and other public facilities in Lagos.
He also allegedly gave a sit-at-home order and threatened violence against anyone who violated the order.

The offences were said to be punishable under Section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.

Section 6

Mr Kanu was alleged to have, on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, inviting members of the public in Nigeria to attack officers of the Nigeria Police Force.
The offence is said to be punishable under Section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.

Section 7

Mr Kanu also allegedly made a broadcast, in 2018 and 2021, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, inviting members of the public in Nigeria to kill officers of the Nigerian police officers.
The alleged offence, according to the prosecution, is similarly punishable under Section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act.

Section 8

The prosecution similarly alleged that, between 2018 and 2021, Mr Kanu made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria, directing members of IPOB, a proscribed organisation, to manufacture bombs.

The act, the federal government says, is an offence punishable under section 1 (2) (f) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013.

Count 9

The prosecution also alleged that between 2018 and 2021, Mr Kanu made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, with the intent to destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria, invite members of the public to stop the Anambra State elections.
The offence is said to be punishable under section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013.

Count 10

The prosecution also alleged that on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, Mr Kanu made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, with the intent to destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria, invite members of the public to destroy public facilities.
The offence was said to be punishable under section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013.

Count 11

Also, between 2018 and 2021, Mr Kanu allegedly made a broadcast received and heard in Nigerian, with the intent to intimidate the population of Nigeria, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, threatening members of the public not to come out on Monday, May 31, 2021.

This alleged offence, the prosecution says, is punishable under section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism (Prevention) (Amendment) Act 2013.

Count 12

Mr Kanu, also between 2018 and 2021, allegedly made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria within Nigeria, inviting members of the public to stage a violent revolution in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people.
The offence also allegedly violates and is punishable under section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention) Amendment Act 2013.

Count 14

The IPOB leader, also on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, allegedly made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with the intent to incite violence in furtherance of an act of terrorism against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its people, directed members of the public to destroy public transport system in Lagos resulting in major economic loss to the government.

The prosecution says the alleged offence is punishable under section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2013.


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