Mazi Nnamdi Kanu
Nnamdi Kanu

Nnamdi Kanu has urged Abuja Court to acquit him of terrorism charges.

 

 

NewsOnline reports that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday asked the Federal Government to discharge and acquit him of the 15-count criminal charges it filed against him.

 

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Kanu claimed that the charges, which he denied upon arraignment on Wednesday, were incurably defective and have no force of law.

 

Besides the alleged defectiveness of the charges, the secessionist said that the offences brought against him were committed in the United Kingdom, outside the shores of Nigeria.

 

Kanu had, early in the day, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him at the instance of the Federal Government.

 

Shortly after the plea was taken, counsel to the government, Mr Shuaib Magaji Labaran, told the trial judge, Binta Nyako, that he prepared to proceed with a formal trial of the defendant.

 

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He informed the court that two of his witnesses were in court to testify in the case while some exhibits to be tendered to establish terrorism charges against Kanu have also been brought to court.

Labaran cited Section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which stipulates that trial should begin after arraignment while objection on any issue can be taken at any time along with the substantive matters.

However, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, objected to the commencement of the trial adding that his client has filed two motions on notice, one questioning the validity of the charges and the other seeking bail.

Ozekhome said that the two motions are so fundamental because one of them is challenging the competence of the whole charges and must be first resolved.

He said that Kanu wants to be discharged and acquitted without standing trial because the charges were incurably defective and not worth being defended.

The second motion seeking fresh bail for Kanu filed on Tuesday, January 18, and served on the prosecution on Wednesday, January 19 morning was not ripe for hearing.

Justice Nyako, in a brief ruling, agreed with Ozekhome to take and determine the motion challenging the validity of the charges first.

The judge fixed February 16 at 12 noon for the parties to return to court to adopt their processes for and against the motion.

However, Kanu has been returned to the detention facility of the Department of State Services (DSS) till the issue of his request for bail is resolved.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has confirmed that the DSS has provided Kanu with an orthopaedic mattress, pillows, blankets among others in compliance with a court order.

Labaran conveyed the news to Justice Nyako at the resumption of Kanu’s arraignment.

Ozekhome showered encomiums on the DSS, adding that his client will now live and sleep like a human being.

Justice Nyako has directed that clothes brought for Kanu by his family members be handed over to the Director of Legal Services of DSS to enable Kanu to change his clothes during proceedings.