Nnamdi Kanu, leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has pleaded “not guilty” to an amended seven-charge bordering on treason, treasonable felony, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms among others filed against him by the Federal Government.
Kanu made his plea on Thursday after he was finally brought to the Federal High Court, Abuja, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), four months after he was extradited to Nigeria from an undisclosed country.
When the charges were read to him, the IPOB leader pleaded “not guilty” before Justice Binta Nyakoto, the trial judge.
Count one of the charges filed in suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/383/15, read: That you Nnamdi Kanu, male adult of Afarachukw lbeku Umahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, being the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 in London, United Kingdom, did broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other areas within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, preparations made by you and others now at large, for states in the South-East and South-South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states to secede from the federal republic of Nigeria with a view to constituting same into the Republic of Biafra and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 41(c) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP. C77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Count three read: That you Nnamdi Kanu, male adult of Afarachukw lbeku Umahia North Local Government Area of Abia State between the month of March and April 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiizor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra state within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, a Radio transmitter known as TRAM 50l concealed in a container of used household Wich you declared as used household items and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 47 (2) of the Criminal Code of Act, Cap C45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Count six of the amended charge read: ”That on the 16th of May , 2021 in London, United Kingdom within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did commit and act in furtherance if an act of terrorism by making a broadcast that “in two weeks time, what will happen will shake the world, people will die, the whole world will stand still mark my word” and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.”
Following the defendant’s plea, Hustice Nyako adjourned the trial to 10 November.
Kanu, who jumped bail in 2017, was re-arrested and subsequently repatriated to Nigeria from an undisclosed location on 27 June “through the collaborative efforts of Nigerian intelligence and security services”, according to Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation.
He was re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on 29 June and ordered to be remanded in the custody of the DSS.
The trial was stalled after the DSS failed to produce Kanu in court on 26 July, the adjourned date for hearing.
Justice Binta Nyako, the trial judge, adjourned the case till October 21, 2021, when judges were expected to have resumed from their annual vacation.
The Federal Government had last week slammed an amended seven-count charge against Kanu, while the FHC issued a hearing notice for Thursday, October 21.
The trial, which began at 10am, had lawyers, journalists, members of the pan-Igbo cultural group, Ohanaeze Ndigbo; and well-wishers barred from the court premises by a joint team of the DSS, the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force.