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Fresh Charge: Kanu Shuns Court, Trial Adjourned Indefinitely

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The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Monday reportedly, refused to appear before the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to answer a seven-count amended terrorism charge slammed against him by the Federal Government.

Mr. M.B. Abubakar who is Director, of Public Prosecution, informed Justice Binta Nyako that Kanu, who is currently in the custody of the Department of State Security Service (DSS), refused to appear in court until the October 13 Court of Appeal judgment is obeyed by the federal government.

The judgement of the Court of Appeal in reference had quashed the 15-count charge against Kanu and discharged him of all the allegations.

Explaining the absence of the IPOB leader in court, the led prosecution counsel, Abubakar, stated: ‘My lord, I understand that the defendant declined to come to court today. As of last week, the defendant was intimated of this sitting and he did not object. However, when I called the office this morning, I was informed that the defendant woke up and declined to come to court. All entreaties and pleas were made, but he refused to come to court,’ the government lawyer told the court.

However, lead counsel to Kanu, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, informed the court that FG’s allegation was strange to him.

My lord, this is totally strange to me because this is a person that has never hidden his intention to always be in court. In fact, even in processes we filed at both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, the defendant said he would want to be present in court for hearing of all the matters,’ Ozekhome added.

Ozekhome further notified the trial judge about the judgement of the Court of Appeal that quashed the 15-count charge FG preferred against his client and discharged him of all the allegations.

The human rights activist argued that since the federal government has proceeded to the Supreme Court to set aside the judgement, and his client, also, challenging the order that stayed the execution of the verdict, it was better for the matter to be adjourned sine-die (indefinitely).

In addition, Ozekhome informed the court that his client was not served with the amended charge.

On his part, the DPPF, Mr. Abubakar, said he was not opposed to an adjournment to enable the Supreme Court to determine the appeals pending before it.  Justice Nyako consequently adjourned the case indefinitely.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has filed an amended seven-count terrorism charge against him. The amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, bordered on allegations against the IPOB leader which were earlier sustained by the trial court.

The charge alleged that Kanu, who belonged to an unlawful group, had, in a broadcast that was received and heard across the country, issued a deadly threat that anyone who flouted his sit-at-home order in the Southeastern part of the country should write his or her will.

That, as a result of the threat, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, fuel stations domiciled in the Eastern states of Nigeria, have continued to shut down their businesses, with citizens and vehicular movements grounded.

Federal government further alleged that the detained  IPOB leader had, on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made broadcasts that were received and heard in Nigeria, inciting members of the public to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel and their family members, thereby, committing an offence punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

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