There was tension in the court Thursday as the federal government re-arraigned the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, on charges of treasonable felony and terrorism.
Lawyers, journalists and observers were not allowed access to the courtroom.
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A delegation from the British High Commission; Ohaneze Ndigbo led by a former Governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and activists attended the court session.
The fresh seven-count charges against Kanu followed his arrest and extradition from Kenya after he allegedly jumped bail.
Kanu however pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
Lead defence counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, in a preliminary objection asked the court to dismiss the seven-count amended charges for failing to disclose a prima facie evidence as incompetent and that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain same.
He argued that the defendant could not be tried with charges of belonging to IPOB because the “purported proscription is a subject matter of appeal in appeal no: CA/A/214/2018 pending before the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal.”
He added that the offences of incitement he was charged for occurred in London, United Kingdom and not anywhere within Nigeria.
Justice Binta Nyako, however, refused an application by Kanu’s lawyers to transfer him to the Nigerian Correctional Service and instead remanded him in the DSS custody, citing security reasons.
Before adjourning till November 10 for hearing of the preliminary objection, the judge ordered the DSS to grant his family access to him.
In the charges signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, M.B. Abubakar, the government alleged that Kanu in broadcasts on Radio Biafra between 2014 and 2015 called for states in the South East, South South, parts of Kogi and Benue States to form the Republic of Biafra against the provision of Section 41(c) of the Criminal Code Act, 2004.
The prosecution said Kanu in April 2015 referred to President Muhammadu Buhari as a paedophile, terrorist, idiot and an embodiment of evil, knowing same to be false contrary to section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C.77 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, among other charges.