Biafra: FG re-arraigns Kanu, 3 others

  • Files additional charges  

THE Federal Government on Tuesday re-arraigned the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and three others on 11-count charge bordering on treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and terrorism and other offences bordering on their agitation for secession of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.

The re-arraignment yesterday before Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja made it the third judge of the court to hear the Federal Government case against the Biafran leader.

Kanu had earlier accused Justices Adeniyi Ademola and John Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Abuja of bias, the development made the two judges to excuse themselves from the case against the Biafra leader.

In the amended charges dated November 7, 2016 and filed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Mohammed Umar, the Federal Government added five fresh charges to the earlier six the accused persons were initially charged with.

Also included in the charge for the first time is one David Nwawusi. The other two, Onwudiwe Chidiebere and Benjamin Madubugwu had been charged along with Kanu in the earlier six-count charge.

When the case was called for hearing yesterday, all the defendants were present in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges when read to them.

After pleading not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the Federal Government and the application for his bail was moved, the trial Judge, Justice Nyako, slated November 17, 2016 to hear arguments on the bail application of the defendants.

Kanu, alongside Onwudiwe Chidiebere and Benjamin Madubugwu were first judge arraigned before Justice Shuiabu Usman of a Magistrate Court in Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.

Justice Usman dismissed the case following a motion by the prosecutor, the Department of State Services (DSS) that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain the matter.

At the Federal High Court, Abuja Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who was first assigned the case, withdrew from the matter, following allegation of bias by the defendants and that they would not get fair hearing from the court.

Also, a brother Judge, Justice John Tsoho, towed a similar part after a petition, alleging bias was lodged against him before the National Judicial Council (NJC).

The case file was then returned to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, before it was re-assigned to Nyako, who slated yesterday for the arraignment of the defendants.

Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Namdi Kanu, ‘M’, Onwudiwe Chidiebere ‘M’, Benjamin Madubugwu ‘M’, David Nwawusi ‘M’ and others now at large on diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 in Nigeria and London, United Kingdom, did conspire amongst yourselves to broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other areas within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, preparations being made by you and others at large, or 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 a Republic of Biafra and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP.C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2000”.