Nnamdi Kanu pleads not guilty, to reappear in February

Salihu Ali, Abuja

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The Leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has pleaded not guilty to the 15 charges brought against him by the Nigerian Government in the case of alleged treasonable felony.


The amended charges borders on Alleged commission of acts of terrorism, felony, incitement, unlawful importation of a radio transmitter and leading an illegal organization.


Kanu claimed that the charges which he denied upon arraignment on Wednesday “were incurably defective and have no force of law.”


Besides the alleged defectiveness of the charges, the Biafran Nation agitators leader said that the offences brought against him were committed in the United Kingdom, outside the shore of Nigeria.


Shortly after the plea was taken, counsel to the Nigerian government, Mr. Shuaib Labaran told the trial Judge, justice Binta Nyako that he is prepared to proceed with formal trial of the defendant.


He informed the court that two of his witnesses were in court to testify in the case while some exhibits to be tendered to establish terrorism charges against Kanu have also been brought to court.


The prosecution counsel cited section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 which stipulates that trial should begin after arraignment while objection on any issue can be taken at any time along with the substantive matters.


However, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN objected to commencement of trial adding that his client has filed two motions on notice, one questioning the validity of the charges and the other seeking bail.


Ozekhome said that the two motions are so fundamental because one of them is challenging the competence of the whole charges and must be first resolved.


He said that Kanu wants to be discharged and acquitted without standing trial because the charges were incurably defective and not worth being defended.


The second motion seeking for fresh bail for Kanu filed on Tuesday, January 18 and served on the prosecution on Wednesday January 19 morning was not ripe for hearing.


Justice Binta Nyako in a ruling agreed with Ozekhome to take and determine the motion challenging the validity of the charges first.


The Judge fixed February 16 at 12 noon for the parties to return to court to adopt their processes for and against the motion.


However, Kanu has been returned to the detention facility of the Department of State services DSS till the issue of his request for bail is resolved.


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