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Secret trial of Kanu, others begins

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, (Abuja) and Uzoma Nzeagwu (Awka)
11 January 2017   |   4:00 am
The trial of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and three others began yesterday at the Federal High Court, Abuja division.  
Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu

IPOB accuses Uwazuruike of sabotage
The trial of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and three others began yesterday at the Federal High Court, Abuja division.

Kanu alongside Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi are being tried for treasonable felony and terrorism.

In the fresh 11-count charge, they were also accused of belonging to an illegal society and operating an unlicensed radio station. At yesterday’s sitting, journalists and the public were barred from witnessing the proceedings.

The presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako had on December 13, 2016, ruled that witnesses in the matter would be shielded from the public. However, the opposite was the case at yesterday’s proceedings as the judge and parties were all shielded from public view.

There was also a heavy security presence within and around the court premises, making it difficult for people, including relatives of defendants to gain access to the court.

This development did not go down well with the defence team as they insisted that each of the defendants was entitled to at least four members of his family in court. Consequently, the court was adjourned briefly to enable security operatives allow people into the court.

And when the court resumed, the defence counsel informed Justice Nyako of pending application seeking to quash the charges against the four defendants. Kanu’s counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor had also filed an application challenging the competence of the charge against the defendants.

He asked the court to look at the proof of evidence and juxtapose same with the substantive charge to see if it warranted the continuous detention of the defendants.

According to him, there were no facts to sustain the charge. The counsel further told the court that the defendants have been worried over their inability to get justice in any of their motions. “The defendants have been crying that they are not getting any justice from the courts from the rulings so far”, the counsel said.

The counsel equally alerted the court that information reaching the defence team was that both counsel and relatives to the accused were harassed by the operatives of the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

Narrating how his details were taken by the DSS, Ejiofor stressed that the development called for security concern. He further wondered why Kanu’s case should be made more cynical than other criminal cases.

In the meantime, the judge had cautioned the operatives of the DSS against sensationalism, stressing that there was nothing special about the four defendants and they should not make it look as such.

Nyako adjourned the matter till January 12 to hear the application challenging the competence of the charge as well as that seeking to quash the case.

Meanwhile, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has accused Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, Mr. Chijioke Mbaneri and some others of working with the president Muhamadu Buhari led administration to ensure the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

IPOB said the Federal Government and DSS had perfected plans to use Chief Raphael Uwazuruike, the leader of the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and one Mbaneri from Enugu State to testify in the ongoing trial of their leader.

A statement by the Media and Publicity secretary of the group, Comrade Emma Powerful yesterday said its intelligence unit across the country has uncovered plans and names of those to be used by the government to testify against Kanu.

Meawhile, the trial of former National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, could not hold yesterday as the defendant was said to be re-admitted at the National Hospital, Abuja over ill health.

Justice Okon Abang in a bench ruling, adjourned the case at the instance of the accused till today.

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