The ongoing trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), resumed on Tuesday as the federal government proffers fresh 8 terrorism charges against him increasing the number to 15.
Maxwell Opara, one of Kanu’s lawyers, made this known on his verified Facebook account. January 18 was slated for hearing of arguments on the 7-count charge earlier proffered against him which he pleaded not guilty to.
At the last trial date, Justice Binta Nyako granted an application by Kanu’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor seeking an abridgement of time. She granted the prayers and adjourned the matter till January 18, 19, 2022, against the earlier adjourned date of January 19 and 20.
The new charges and what it means for Kanu
On October 21, 2021, Mr Kanu was re-arraigned on a fresh 7 count-charge bordering on alleged terrorism and treasonable felony slammed against him by the Department of State Security (DSS).
The amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), M. B. Abubakar, on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
However, with the new charges against him, he has to be arraigned again on the fresh charges, then he will take a plea of guilty or not guilty after the charges have been read to him before the trial can commence on the 15 amended charges proffered against him and a fresh bail application taken.
Reacting to the increased charges, one of Kanu’s lawyers, Maxwell Okpara took to his Facebook page to say that the fresh charges is an attempt to frustrate the case.
“Just finished my matter at the Federal High Court Abuja here and just getting prepared to go and visit Mazi Nnamdi Kanu at the DSS with some members of the legal team in preparation of his tomorrow’s court proceedings, only for me to receive another amended charge against MNK,” Mr Okpara said.
“My annoyance is not about the 15 worthless and empty amended charges but it’s just a calculated attempt to delay the trial and have an excuse to further incarcerate MNK in solitary confinement. Imagine since the last adjourned date more than 2 months now, they did not deem it necessary to amend, file and serve us but waited till today for them to do that with their ultimate intention to frustrate the trial tomorrow. Anyway, we shall sort it out with them in the courtroom tomorrow,” he added.
- On June 29, 2021, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami had called a press conference announcing Kanu’s arrest.
- This was followed by his arraignment before justice Nyako at the Federal high court Abuja.
- Kanu’s trial has been held four times since his extradition back to Nigeria. He has appeared in court twice as the DSS had failed to produce him for trial on July 26th, 2021. An emergency trial took place on his matter on December 2 in his absence.
- The court appearances of Kanu is always trailed with heavy security presence around the federal high court with IPOB supporters thronging the court premises to show solidarity with their leader.