Ifeanyi Ejiofor, lead counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has urged the federal government to withdraw the five-count charge preferred against his client and four others.
Mr. Ejiofor, alongside counsel to the other defendants, made the demand on Wednesday in Abuja at a press briefing.
He said that their demand was premised on the grounds that the federal government had refused to open its case against the defendants.
“We demand that the five-count charge preferred against our clients, Nnamdi Kanu, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi and Bright Chimezie be immediately withdrawn and the defendants freed without further ado.
“This is because they have committed no offence known to law, and particularly because the federal government has refused to open her case on the criminal charges preferred against our clients.
“The second to fourth defendants cannot continue to be detained on the strength of the frivolous and concocted charges, in breach of their statutory guaranteed rights as encapsulated under Chapter 4 of the Constitution,” Mr. Ejiofor said.
According to him, there must be an end to litigation.
On the issue of Chimezie, the fifth defendant, who was added in an amended charge, Mr. Ejiofor demanded that the defendant should be released following an order made on May 24.
“He should be released in line with the order made by Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Calabar division of the court.”
To buttress the call for withdrawal of the charges, the lawyer said that several orders of court which had directed that they be released unconditionally were flouted with impunity by the Federal Government.
“It is an incontrovertible fact that orders made for Kanu’s unconditional release were disobeyed by the federal government.
“This is not because he has committed any offence known to law, but for their deliberate desperation to keep him behind bars in perpetuity.
“Part of the tricks adopted to ensure that the trial is truncated on a regular basis is the unending amendment of the charge, any time the matter is slated for definite hearing,” Mr. Ejiofor said.
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Mr. Kanu was arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) on October 14, 2015.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, had on April 25, admitted Mr. Kanu to bail on stringent conditions, but the others standing trial with him were denied bail.
The matter was adjourned until July 11 for trial but could not go on because the court commenced its annual vacation on July 10 and a new date of October 17 was fixed for commencement of trial.