Eight out of the 15 count felony charge the Federal Government preferred against the leader of the Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has been struck out.
It was stated that the charges were mere repetitions, and no offense could be disclosed with proof of evidence by the court. Says Justice Binta Nyako.
The Federal Government had counted against him that he had been inciting the public to not only stage a violent revolution but to attack government officials and destroy public facilities.
While the court removed counts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12,13 and 14 of the charge, it okayed Kanu’s trial on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15.
The ruling followed an application Kanu filed to quash the entire charge against him, which he insisted was manifestly incompetent and legally defective.
Nnamdi Kanu through his team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), argued that the court lacked the jurisdiction to try him on the strength of charges that are incompetent.
Ozekhome (SAN), went further to say that his client was “unlawfully, brutally and extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya without his consent”.
“The charges appears to give this court a global jurisdiction over offences that were allegedly committed by the Defendant, without specifying the location or date the said offences were committed”.
He went on to argue that under the Federal High court Act, Such charges must disclose the specific location of where the offence took place.
Ozekhome Went on to say that IPOB is a proscribed organization which was duly proscribed by the law, and urged the court to dismiss the charge, as well as to discharge and acquit the defendant of the entire 15-count charge pending against him stating that the case is hollow.
“This case is hollow, there is nothing in it. It is dead on arrival. Elements constituting the offence must occur within the jurisdiction of this court”, he argued.
However, FG’s lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, opposed and urged the court to allow the prosecution to open its case, stating that Kanu’s application would touch the substance of the case that is yet to be heard.
“The position as at now is that the IPOB is a proscribed organization which was duly proscribed through the due process of law”.
He argued that Section 32 of the Terrorism Prevention Act imbued the court with the requisite jurisdiction to handle the trial.
“We urged my lord to refuse the application to pave way for commencement of the trial in ernest.
“This is a matter that has been pending for over five years now”, the prosecution counsel added.
Meanwhile, May 18 has been fixed by the court to rule on an application Kanu filed to be released on bail, pending the determination of the charge against him.
Whereas, Ozekhome (SAN), argued that his client was entitled to bail considering the presumption of innocence he enjoys under the 1999 Constitution, as amended but the Federal Government’s lawyer, Labaran, urged the court to decline the bail request.
Count 8 of the charge against Kanu states that Kanu directed members of the IPOB to manufacture bombs and in count 15 alleged that the defendant “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 he declared as used household items, and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 47 (2) (a) of Criminal Code Act Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.