The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the 15 charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism, brought against him by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had filed fresh terrorism charges against Nnamdi Kanu before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, increasing the initial counts against him from seven to 15.
Kanu pleaded not guilty before Justice Binta Nyako when the case resumed at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.
Kanu maintained his innocence to the fresh amended charges against him which borders on his alleged commission of act of terrorism, felony, incitement, unlawful importation of a radio transmitter, and headship of an illegal organisation.
He said he was innocent of all the allegations the Federal Government levelled against him, even as he complained from the dock that some counts in the amended charge were similar.
Meanwhile, immediately the embattled IPOB leader finished taking his plea, the Prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial, adding that he brought two witnesses to testify against the Defendant.
However, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told the court that he had on Tuesday evening, filed a 43-paged Preliminary Objection for the charge to be quashed and struck out without the matter proceeding to trial.
“We are further asking that the Defendant should be discharged and acquitted as there is nothing in this charge. It has no basis at all.
“We also have a motion requesting the court to grant bail to the Defendant”, Ozekhome added.
On his part, Labaran argued that Kanu’s two applications were not ripe for hearing, stressing that he would require time to go through them so as to be able to respond.
“In essence, business of the day cannot be allowed to be truncated by these applications”, he argued.“
In a brief ruling, Justice Nyako noted that since Kanu’s first application is challenging the propriety of his trial as well as competence of the charge against him, the court ought to hear it first
“As for the second motion (on the issue of bail), I don’t even want to talk about it, at least not at this stage”, Justice Nyako held.
The court subsequently adjourned till February 16 to hear the pending application.
Meanwhile, in a seeming disregard to the order of Justice Binta Nyako, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, appeared before the court putting on the same attire he had on since June last year when he was arrested.
Justice Nyako had on Tuesday, ordered the Department of State Services (DSS) to allow Kanu to have a change of clothes.
“I don’t want to see him in this cloth again. This one is almost off-white. Also make sure that you allow him to exercise and give him a good mattress”, Justice Nyako had ordered.
But on Wednesday, Prosecution counsel, Labaran, told the court that Kanu was the one that chose to wear his designer’s Fendi clothes.
He said: “My lord, based on your order yesterday, we provided the Defendant with a new Orthopaedic mattress, pillows and blankets. As for his appearance, he chose to wear this particular one because he said that it is designer.”
In his response, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), told the court that it was not true, noting that his client did not insist on wearing his designer clothes.
“My lord what happened was that by the time proceedings ended yesterday, and because it was not his visiting day, we were not able to pass to him some clothes we obtained for him.
“We even discussed it with him this morning and he said that on the next visiting day he would want to have the new clothes”, Ozekhome added.
He however commended the DSS for providing the IPOB leader with new mattress and pillows.
“I want to commend the DSS and the court for ensuring that it was done”.
Before allowing Kanu to be re-arraigned on the amended 15-count treasonable felony charge, Justice Nyako reiterated her demand for the Defendant to have a change of clothes.
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