Thursday, 2 March 2017

Court dismisses 6 charges against Kanu, others

A Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday quashed six out of the 11-count charge against leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Three other defendants, David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu and Chidiebere Onwudiwe who are also standing trial alongside Kanu on alleged offence of treasonable felony also benefited from the ruling of the court.

The decision of the court followed a motion by the defendants challenging the competence of the 11-count charge preferred against them.

The ruling of Justice Binta Nyako came as only few journalists were barred from accessing the courtroom by security operatives. However, few journalists that finally gained access into the court were thoroughly screened by the operatives.

Kanu and his comrades in the struggle for the actualisation of the Biafra nation were escorted to court with heavy security provided by a combined team of Police, the Department of State Security Service (DSS) and the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps.

Also, Prison personnel were armed with guns and sniffer dogs.

The entire charge bordered on alleged acts of terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods by the defendants.

Justice Nyako who delivered the ruling, held that the prosecution did not furnish the court with any evidence to support the allegations contained in the quashed charges.

Accordingly, Nyako quashed counts 3,5,7,9,10 &11 contained the charges bordering on allegations that the defendants belonged to an unlawful society, punishable under section 63 if the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38.

Count five, which was equally quashed bordered on improper importation of goods contrary to section 47(1) (a) (i) of the Customs and Excise Management Act, Cap. C45 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under same section of the Act, preferred against Kanu.

The judge also quashed count seven slammed against Benjamin Madubugwu for managing of an unlawful society, in April 2015 at Ubulusiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State by accepting and keeping a container housing a radio transmitter known as TRAM 50L, with knowledge that the said radio transmitter was to be used for radio Biafra broadcast.

The court further quashed the charge alleging that the National Coordinator of IPOB, Onwudiwe Chidiebere, committed an act of terrorism by carrying out research for the purpose of identifying and gathering of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) making materials to be used against the Nigerian security operatives carrying out their lawful duties.

The court, however, retained five charges against the defendants bordering on treasonable felony.

Outside the court premises, members of IPOB, sang solidarity songs with some dressed in Jewish attires, praying for the actualisation of the sovereign Republic of Biafra.

The court later fixed March 20 and 21 for continuation of trial.

Meanwhile, IPOB has demanded the unconditional release of Kanu and pro-Biafran agitators in detention.

The Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, while reacting to the court proceeding, thanked God and eminent Biafrans who made it successful.

“IPOB and its leadership thank God Almighty (Chukwu Okike Abiama) and eminent Biafrans who made yesterday’s court proceedings in Abuja successful.

“We advise every IPOB member and Biafrans worldwide to remain resolute in the pursuit for the restoration of the ancient nation of Biafra because it is ordained by Almighty God and no man can stop it unless God says so. This is the time for the restoration of the prophesied nation in West Africa,” Powerful stated.
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