…Secret trial adjourned to Feb 10
Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, told Federal High Court in Abuja he is not a coup planner, but, a freedom fighter.
Kanu is being prosecuted alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi on charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.
Speaking before Justice Binta Nyako, through his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu said he committed no crime by advocating self-determination for Igbo.
He said the Biafra agitation predated the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and that it was laughable he was accused of treason when all he did was ask for an independent state for the Igbo.
He urged the court to quash the charges against him.
“The fact that Justice Adeniyi Ademola decided that there was no incriminating evidence against the first defendant, he ordered his release but, this was blatantly refused.
“He’s a freedom fighter unlike people who overthrew a legitimate government in 1983.
“The court has no option but to discharge the charges. The court should trash the charges,” Ejiofor said
But Shuaibu Labaran, counsel to the Federal Government and the prosecution, urged the court to dismiss Kanu’s application.
He insisted Kanu’s application to quash the charges against him lacked substance.
Meanwhile, his trial has been shifted to February 10, 2017, when the court will take a decision on his motion seeking to quash the charges brought against him by the Federal Government.
Kanu’s trial was suspended on December 13, 2016, following a rowdy session created by him and other defendants.
The abrupt adjournment, yesterday, came as the court, presided over by Justice Nyako, made an alternative arrangement for family members and relatives of the detained Biafra agitator.
In the new arrangement, family members and relatives of the defendants were asked by security operatives to queue up before they could be allowed into the court premises, where they could be identified by Prince Kanu, IPOB leader’s brother.
Meanwhile, security operatives at the court initially prevented journalists from entering the courtroom to witness the secret trial of Kanu.
The security operatives, who had vowed to ensure tight security at the venue of the trial, said they needed to get instructions first before allowing journalists into the venue.
The operatives had, on Tuesday, compiled a list of journalists which they claimed would be used in allowing reporters into the court for yesterday’s session.
However, the list was ignored as few journalists were later allowed entry while majority of reporters were prevented.
The operatives told the other reporters that they would await further instructions before allowing the journalists into the court. That instruction was being awaited at the time of this report.
In addition, Justice Nyako had ordered that at least four family members of each defendant be allowed access into the court. She also warned security operatives not to bring the accused persons into the courtroom in handcuffs.
Kanu had, through his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor urged the court to quash all the charges preferred against him by the Federal Government in an amended charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/383/15.
The Biafra leader is being prosecuted alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi on charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.
Ejiofor told the court in his argument that the proof of evidence attached to the charge has no items constituting the basic ingredients of the offences for which Kanu was charged.
According to him, the proof of evidence filed by the prosecution does not disclose any prima facie case against Kanu and added that the six count-charge relating to the 1st defendant (Kanu) was in-competent.
The prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, in his objection to Kanu’s motion seeking the quashing of charges against him urged Justice Nyako to refuse the request, which he said, if granted would be prejudicial to the cause of justice.
Labaran argued that the charge against the first defendant like the other defendants in the case was competent, clear and unambiguous and that the proof of evidence attached to the charge clearly linked the first defendant with the charge brought against him.
|NAMDI KANU BLASTS UWAZURUIKE,/sd
Biafra: Kanu blasts Uwazuruike
…Gives MASSOB/BIM boss 4 days to provide evidence of alleged fraud
From OKEY SAMPSON, Aba and Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
Detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has descended heavily on the founder of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, describing him as a coward and the real fraudster.
Uwazuruike had, in reaction to an allegation by IPOB that the Federal Government had contracted him to give witness against Kanu in court in the on going trial of the IPOB leader, wearing mask, denied the allegation and also disparaged Kanu and his IPOB by describing them as fraudsters.
Speaking through his younger brother, Kanunta Kanu, Nnamdi Kanu said Uwazuruike should not be a coward by denying he had a deal with the Federal Government to testify against him in court, wearing mask.
He said Uwazuruike was promised an oil block by the Federal Government to testify against him in court.
“I want to let the world know that Uwazuruike is the number one witness Nigeria has in her case against Kanu. We are not against him doing so, but he should not be a coward. If he wants to testify, let him come out openly and do that and lets see if he will come back the same person, people will never recognise him again. He will be in exile; he will never come back to Igbo land.
“Uwazuruike is denying that he never had a deal with the Federal Government to stand as witness against Kanu under cover, but he has forgotten that no matter how a bird flies up, her underneath must be seen, we know him and he thinks that is the only way he can kill IPOB which he has seen as a threat.
“But he is a coward, since he wants to destroy the structure on ground, let him come out openly and testify against Nnamdi in court and see if he would come back the same person.
On the allegation by Uwazuruike that Kanu and his IPOB were fraudsters, Kanunta who spoke on behalf of his brother from his base in Germany said it was the MASSOB/BIM leader who was the real fraudster.
“Uwazuruike is the real fraudster; he is the conman who has duped Biafrans billions of naira. We all know that Uwazuruike has taken money from the government, he has compromised this struggle from the on set, so, there is nothing he can do for Biafran people, not in this generation, not even in the next one to come.”
Meanwhile, IPOB has demanded that Uwazuruike, within four days should provide evidence of the alleged fraud of its leader, Kanu and its membership or be unmasked.
IPOB said Uwazuruike’s evidence must be proven beyond every reasonable doubt and the evidence must not be anecdotal or mere conjecture, but verifiable and provable acts of fraud carried out by either Nnamdi Kanu or members of IPOB.
Uwazuruike was reportedly quoted to have alleged and “described Nnamdi Kanu and his IPOB as fraudsters who are out to deceive gullible people”published in one of the national dailies not Sun Newspapers on Wednesday this week.
A statement signed by the deputy leader, IPOB, Mr. Uche Mefor and spokespersons of the organisation, Mr. Emma Nmezu and Dr. Clifford Chukwuemeka Iroanya said if at the expiration of the period given to Uwazuruike to make available all his evidence of fraud against Kanu and IPOB then it would release information about him laden with facts and figures.
The statement read in part: “If at the expiration of the period given to you to make public all your evidence of fraud against Kanu and IPOB you fail to do so, we will release information about you laden with facts and figures. All you have struggled to hide from the public knowledge will be laid bare. At the end of this exercise, MASSOB members themselves will lynch you.
“We are not against any person wishing to remain relevant from peddling market place gossip against our leader, but in true IPOB form, we expect concrete evidence to accompany your flimsy accusations. Because we shall come after you with avalanche of proofs that will make you wish you never associated your dubious self with the word Biafra because criminals should not have anything to do with freedom fighting.
“You are about to be unmasked big time. Your life will no longer be the same after January 15, 2017. Go and prepare for your final disgrace and exit from the efforts to restore Biafra. Our facts and evidence will speak for itself. You are about to understand why IPOB is a monster that consumes enemies of Biafra both within and outside.”
Narrating Kanu’s problem with Uwazuruike, Kanunta said it all started in 2009 when MASSOB leader came to the United Kingdom and wanted to buy a property in London which Kanu refused him doing, reasoning that the money contributed by poor Biafrans should not be so spent.
“We had problem with Uwazuruike because he wanted to buy a property in Gladstone junction in East London in 2009 and we told him no, that he can’t betray our people in Nigeria by using the same money these people were contributing to buy property in London, that it will never happen. That was when we started having problem with Uwazuruike in the first place because they can’t be killing our people at home and you come to London to buy property with their money.
“Anybody that has a superior idea over Uwazuruike, he wouldn’t like to work with that person. When we saw that we wanted to correct him, he felt threatened and started doing all sorts of things. Uwazuruike runs around in his kitchen and thinks that Biafra starts in his kitchen and ends up in his kitchen.
“Uwazuruike is fighting Kanu because his MASSOB has been contaminated; it was listed as a terrorist organisation because he was using that platform to kidnap people which was what he did to Kanu in 2009.
He said Uwazuruike wants to testify against Kanu to send him to jail because he (Uwazuruike) thinks Biafra could only be achieved under his watch, but that he doesn’t have what it takes to actualise Biafra. He alleged that the MASSOB founder lacks the intellectual capacity to actualise Biafra.
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“Biafra is a name that comes first before any creature in this planet earth, Uwazuruike has failed so many times and he will continue to fail because he puts himself first before Biafra and not the other way round,” he said.