Kanu pleads not guilty, court adjourns till Nov. 10

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.Kanu(right) and his lead counsel

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu standing trial before an Abuja High Court on seven-count amended charge preferred against him by the Federal Government, has pleaded not guilty.

Kanu who is standing trial before Justice Binta Nyako, on Thursday claimed innocence of all charges preferred against him.

The trial witnessed heavy security presence of operatives of the Department of State Services, the Nigerian Police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Nigerian Army. They manned major roads leading to the court building.

Journalists, lawyers and some traditional rulers who had turned up to attend the trial were denied entry into the courtroom by the. operatives of the DSS during the proceeding. They insisted that they were acting on orders from above.

One of the operatives was quoted as saying that “You people can go to your press centre and wait till the end of the matter. After then, you will receive briefing on what happened.”

Some of the judiciary staff had to trek some distance to their office.

The IPOB leader was expected to push for his release on bail pending the determination of the case against him, or his transfer from custody of the DSS to a Correctional Centre.

However, the court adjourned the case to November 10.

The Federal Government had, in the amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, signed by a team of government lawyers led by the Director, Public Prosecution of the Federation, M. B. Abubakar, alleged that Kanu had in furtherance of an act of terrorism, issued a deadly threat that anyone that flouted his sit-at-home order should write his or her will.

It further alleged that as a result of Kanu’s directive, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, fuel stations were not opened for businesses, with vehicular movements grounded in the South-East region of the country.

The FG added that the action amounted to an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1(2) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

Kanu was alleged to have committed treasonable felony, an offence punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria

Among others, he was also alleged to have, between 2018 and 2021, through Radio Biafra, professed to be a member of IPOB, a proscribed organisation in Nigeria, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

The FG lined up five witnesses to testify in the matter, among whom were officials of the DSS, and one Ronald S. who was identified as the manager of a Hotel in Lagos.

 

 

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