Biafra: Court Shifts Ruling on Motion to Quash Charges Against Kanu, Others Till March 1
By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
February 10, 2017
ABUJA – Trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, deferred ruling on motion seeking to quash treason charge against the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, till March 1.
Nnamdi Kanu arrive the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday, June 20, 2016.
Aside Kanu who ýhas been in detention since October 14, 2015, when he was arrested by security operatives upon his arrival to Nigeria from his base in the United Kingdom, the motion is equally seeking to free three other pro-Biafra agitators also on trial before the court- Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
The defendants are answering to 11-count charge bordering on their alleged involvement in acts of treason and terrorism.
They had through their respective lawyers, urged the court to not only quash the charges, but to also discharge and acquit them.
Kanu who was hitherto the Director of Radio Biafra and Television made his application on a day he accused President Muhammadu Buhari of committing treasonable felony against Nigeria.
He made reference to the December 31,1983 military coup that led to the installation of Buhari as Head of State.
The said coup ousted the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari.
The defence team led by Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Okpara, queried competence of the charge, insisting there was nothing in the proof of evidence before the court to support treason allegation against the defendants.
The defendants argued that FG failed to establish a prima-facie case against them to warrant their trial.
In a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Ahmed Sadiya, the defendants, said there was “nothing contained in the proof of evidence to show that IPOB, people merely exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to self determination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, is an unlawful society/organisation”.
Kanu said the only evidence the prosecution attached in support of treason allegation against him was an extra judicial statement he made to the Department of a state Service, statement made by the prosecution witnesses, and highlight of alleged Radio Biafra broadcasts.
He told the court that Radio Biafra was duly registered and operated under the United Kingdom Laws.
However, government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, in his response, asked the court to dismiss the defendants’ objections which he said lacked substance.
Labaran urged the court to in-line with the provision of section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, refuse the applications and okay witnesses to commence their evidence-in-chief against the defendants.
Justice Nyako who had on January 12 fixed Friday to rule on the motion, however deferred it till March 3, saying it was not ready.
It will be recalled that Kanu had on December 12, threatened that he would in the course of the trial, expose secrets he said would sink Nigeria.
The defendants equally alleged plot by FG to import foreigners to testify against them.