The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has pleaded not guilty to the 15 charges bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism, preferred against him by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Nnamdi Kanu Pleads Not Guilty
The IPOB leader pleaded his innocence on Wednesday, January 19, when he was arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako when the case resumed at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In the charges, the federal government accused Kanu of attempting to use his broadcasts to “destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria”.
He was accused of inciting the public “to stage a violent revolution in furtherance of an act of terrorism against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria”.
He was also accused of illegally importing a radio transmitter known as, Tram 500L, concealed in a container of used household items.
The Nigerian government alleged that the IPOB leader issued a deadly threat that anyone that flouted his sit-at-home order should be killed.
It said as a result of Kanu’s command, banks, schools, marketplaces, shopping malls, and filling stations were closed to the public, and vehicular movements halted throughout the country’s south-east.
But Kanu, who was brought into the courtroom around 10:15 am, said he was innocent of all the allegations levelled against him, even as he complained from the dock that some counts in the amended charge were similar.
Nnamdi Kanu And His Designer Clothes
Meanwhile, contrary to the order of Justice Nyako, Kanu showed up before the court, wearing the same designer clothes he had on since June 2021 when he was arrested.
Justice Nyako had on Tuesday, ordered the Department of State Services (DSS), to allow Kanu to have a change of clothes.
But when the matter was called up on Wednesday, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that Kanu was the one who chose to wear his designer clothes.
He said, “My lord, based on your order yesterday, we provided the defendant with a new Orthopedic mattress, pillows and blankets. As for his appearance, he chose to wear this particular one because he said that it is designers”.
In his response, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, told the Court that it was not true that his client insisted on wearing his designer’s clothes.
“My Lord, what happened was that by the time proceedings ended yesterday, and because it was not his visiting day, we were not able to pass to him, some clothes we obtained for him.
“We even discussed it with him this morning and he said that on the next visiting day he would want to have the new clothes”, Ozekhome added.
He however commended the DSS for providing the IPOB leader with new mattress and pillows.
Ozekhome said, “I want to commend the DSS and the Court for ensuring that it was done.”
Immediately after Kanu took his plea, Labaran told the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial, adding that he brought two witnesses to testify against the defendant.
However, Ozekhome informed the court that he filed a 43-paged preliminary objection opposing the charges.
“We are further asking that the defendant should be discharged and acquitted as there is nothing in this charge. It has no basis at all. We also have a motion requesting the court to grant bail to the defendant,” he said.
But Labaran argued that Kanu’s two applications were not due for hearing.
In a brief ruling, Justice Binta Nyako said since Kanu’s first application is challenging the propriety of his trial as well as competence of the charge against him, the court ought to hear it first.
“As for the second motion (on the issue of bail), I don’t even want to talk about it, at least not at this stage,” Nyako held.
The judge subsequently adjourned till February 16 to hear the pending application.
KanyiDaily recalls that Nnamdi Kanu had charged his supporters to be civil in their conduct and comportment, “shun violence and defiant behavior in any manner or form, and exercise restraint in speech” during his court appearance today.