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    FG charges not worth defending, Kanu tells court, gets Feb date

    The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, asked a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja to discharge and acquit him of the 15 criminal counts filed against him by the Federal Government.

    According to him, the charges, which he denied upon arraignment, are incurably defective and have no force of law.

    Besides the alleged defectiveness of the charges, he said the offences brought against him were committed in the United Kingdom and not in Nigeria.

    Kanu had earlier in the day pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him at the instance of the Federal Government.

    Shortly after the plea was taken, the counsel to the Federal Government, Shuaib Labaran, told the court that he was prepared to proceed with the trial of the defendant.

    He informed the court that two of his witnesses were available, while some exhibits to be tendered to establish the charges of terrorism against Kanu had also been brought to court.

    Labaran 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.

    He said his client had filed two motions on notice, one questioning the validity of the charges and the other seeking bail.

    Ozekhome said the two motions were so fundamental, because one of them was challenging the competence of the charges and must be first resolved.

    He stated that Kanu wanted 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 was filed on Tuesday and served on the prosecution on Wednesday and was considered not ripe for hearing.

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

    The judge fixed February 16 for the parties to return to court to adopt their processes for and against the motion.

    Kanu was then returned to the detention facility of the Department of State Services till the issue of his bail request is resolved.

    The government confirmed that the DSS had provided Kanu with an orthopaedic mattress, pillows and blankets, among others, in compliance with court order.

    Labaran conveyed the news to Justice Nyako at the resumption of Kanu’s arraignment.

    Ozekhome stated that his client would now live and sleep like a human being.

    Justice Nyako had directed that clothes brought for Kanu by his family members be handed over to the Director of Legal Services, DSS, to enable the IPOB leader to have a change of clothes during proceedings.

    Court awards IPOB leader N1bn, asks FG to tender apology
    In a related development, an Abia State High Court sitting in Umuahia and presided over by Justice Benson Anya, on Wednesday awarded the sum of N1bn to Kanu over the invasion of his home in Afara Ukwu by military personnel on September 10, 2017.

    Kanu had approached the court to seek justice following the invasion of his house by soldiers after he was granted bail for treasonable felony brought against him by the Federal Government.

    Justice Anya also ordered the Federal Government to apologise to Kanu over the invasion.

    The judge also advised the government to seek a political solution to the charges of treasonable felony against Kanu for which he is standing trial before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

    The court, however, declined to entertain his alleged abduction from Kenya, saying the matter should be handled by the Federal High Court.

    Kanu’s lead lawyer, Alloy Ejimofor, commended the judgment, stating, “The gavel has finally fallen in the search for justice.”

    However, the counsel for the military, Amos Tori said he was waiting for the copy of the judgment for onward transmission to his clients.

    Also commenting, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, Uchenna Madu, described the judgment as not coming as a “surprise to us,” adding that the war was not between Kanu and Nigeria, but “between Biafra and Nigeria.”

    Copyright PUNCH.

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