Nnamdi Kanu Must Stand Trial On Terrorism Charges – Court
A court has said that Nnamdi Kanu must stand trial on terrorism charges.
Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday ordered the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu to stand trial on only seven of the 15-count alleged terrorism charges against him.
Justice Nyako made the order while ruling on Kanu’s application to quash the charge preferred against him by the federal government.
The application, premised on 34 grounds and supported by a 36-paragraph affidavit, also sought an order to acquit and discharge Kanu.Delivering ruling in the application, Justice Nyako struck out eight of the 15-count charges because the prosecution failed to disclose any form of offence alleged to have been committed by the defendant.
The judge ruled: “In this instant preliminary objection application, I have read the counts and come to the conclusion that counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14 have not disclosed any offence against the defendant.
“Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15 show some allegations, which the defendant has to answer.“The court shall proceed to try the defendant on those counts.”
By the ruling, Kanu would now stand trial on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15, which the court believes he needs to respond to. Meanwhile, the court has fixed May 18 to deliver ruling in Kanu’s application for bail.The court fixed the date after listening to arguments for and against granting the application.
Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, in moving the bail application said: “Until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.”
He reminded the court that a defendant ought to enjoy the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
“I humbly urge my lord to use your discretion to grant him bail subject to my lord’s condition,” he said.“You can limit him to stay in my house and I will not allow him to move around,” the lawyer added jokingly.
Responding, prosecution counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, prayed the court to refuse the application, adding that Kanu had allegedly violated the earlier bail granted him.
“My lord granted him bail in 2017 on health grounds, but since then until date, no medical record was submitted to the court until he jumped bail,” he said.
“What we should be saying is contempt of court because he has flagrantly violated the orders of the court.”
He urged the judge to be guided by her discretion vis-a-vis the circumstances of the case “and in the alternative, order accelerated hearing on this matter so that the defendant can know his fate one way or the other.
”In a short ruling, the judge announced May 18 to deliver the ruling on the bail application. The IPOB leader was arraigned last year on an amended criminal charge, shortly after he was arrested and repatriated to Nigeria.He had fled the country in 2017 after soldiers invaded his family house in Abia State and was reported to have committed most of the alleged offences from his hideout somewhere in the United Kingdom.
After he was repatriated and arraigned, he pleaded not guilty to the 15-count amended charges bordering on alleged treasonable felony and asked the court to quash the charges for being defective and baseless, adding that the court lacked the jurisdiction to try him based on those charges.