The Nigerian Government has again filed amended charges against the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The amended 15-count charge bordering on acts of terrorism was filed on Friday last week at the Federal High Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
A copy of the charge sheet on Monday was made public. It was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, MB Abubakar, on behalf of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami.
Count One of the charge read, “That you Nnamdi Kanu, Male, Adult, of Afatanukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State sometimes in 2021 being a member and leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, a proscribed Organisation, did commit an act in furtherance of an act of Terrorism against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the People of Nigeria by making a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to intimidate the population and you threatened that people will die, the whole world will stand still and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.”
“That you Nnamdi Kanu, Male, Adult, of Afatanukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State on diverse dates between the month of March and April 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, a Radio Transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which you declared as used household items, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act, Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,” another count read.
In October last year, the government had filed an amended seven-count against the detained IPOB leader, charges which bordered on treasonable felony and his alleged involvement in acts of terrorism at the same court.
Justice Binta Nyako, who was to preside over the case, later fixed Tuesday (January 18), to hear some pending applications, including the one Kanu filed to be discharged and acquitted.
Barely a day to the scheduled commencement of the accelerated hearing, the government, in the amended process it filed before the court, increased the counts in the previous charge it preferred against the detained IPOB leader.
Kanu initially faces a seven-count treasonable felony charge will now enter his fresh plea to a 15-count amended charge.
He was first arrested in 2015 on charges bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, and improper importation of goods, among others.
The IPOB leader, who was initially detained and arraigned in court, fled the country in 2017 after he was granted bail for medical reasons. Although he was later sighted in Israel, he was intercepted in June 2021 and repatriated to Nigeria – about four years since he jumped bail.
Amid the calls for his release by some prominent individuals and groups in the South East, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted a group of leaders from the region under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats.
At the meeting held in November last year, the President promised to consider the request for Kanu’s release, although he said it was “an extremely difficult demand”.
The group had pleaded for a political, rather than military solution to the crisis in the region and promised to call Kanu and order agitators in the South East to order.
Barely two months after the meeting, President Buhari, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, stated that the IPOB leader should answer for his actions over the years, especially while he was out of the country.