Biafra: Court strikes out six charges against Kanu, others

Nnamdi Kanu

The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court on Wednesday struck out six of the 11-count charges brought against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.

Mr. Kanu and three others, David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu and Chidiebere Onwudiwe, are facing trial for alleged treason.

The matter continued on Wednesday with the hearing and determination of applications seeking the withdrawal of the charges against the defendants.

Delivering her ruling in the three similar applications brought by the first, second and third defendants in the matter, the presiding judge, Binta Nyako, said counts 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 and 11 did not constitute a prima facie case against the defendants.

She said the documents before the court was insufficient to prove the allegation that the IPOB constituted an unlawful society.

She also held that the prosecution failed to prove that the items allegedly imported by the defendants had been banned by the Nigerian government.

Mrs. Nyako struck out the charges and ordered a fresh hearing on the other five counts still proffered against the defendants.

They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After the plea was taken, counsel to the fourth defendant, E. I. Esene, requested the prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, to withdraw himself from the trial, on the grounds that he (Labaran) had been part of the prosecutors who had interrogated his client before he was charged.

Mr. Esene regarded the involvement of Mr. Labaran in the matter as an “injury to the trial”.

A mild drama then occurred when the first defendant, Mr. Kanu, attempted, yet again to address the court on the manner of trial which he regarded as secret.

Mrs. Nyako however sounded a warning, preventing the degeneration of the hearing into a rowdy session.

She warned the lawyers to advise their client against “unruly behaviour”, stressing that such an attitude would force her to report them to the Chief Justice of the court, so that their matter continues without their presence in court.

The case was adjourned till March 20.


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