The federal government has filed an amended seven-count terrorism charge against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu has been in detention since he was picked up from Kenya on June 19, 2021.
The IPOB leader was subsequently re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge.
On April 8, the trial court struck out eight of the 15 counts in the charge. The remaining seven counts were later quashed by the Court of Appeal on October 13.
Delivering judgment in the appeal, a three-member panel of the appellate court led by Hanatu Sankey held that the federal government flouted the Terrorism Act in violation of international conventions and treaties, hence, breaching the rights of the respondent.
The court further held that having illegally and forcefully renditioned the appellant, the trial court is stripped of jurisdiction to continue to try Kanu.
However, the federal government is yet to release the IPOB leader.
Instead, it filed an appeal before the Supreme Court to challenge the appeal court judgment.
It also filed an application seeking to stay the execution of the appellate court’s judgment.
Ruling on the application, the Court of Appeal granted the government’s request.
While the federal government’s appeal and a cross-appeal by Kanu is pending before the apex court, the federal government has gone back to the trial court to file an amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015.
The allegations contained in the amended charge are the remaining seven counts earlier sustained by the trial court.
According to the charge, Kanu made a broadcast that was heard across Nigeria, in which he issued a threat that anyone who flouted a sit-at-home order in the south-east, should write his or her will.
The federal government submitted that as a result of the threat, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, and petrol stations in the south-east have continued to shut down their businesses, with citizens and vehicular movements grounded.
The federal government further alleged that Kanu’s broadcasts made on different dates between 2018 and 2021, incited members of the public to attack Nigerian security personnel and their family members, thereby committing an offence punishable under section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
It also alleged that Kanu directed members of IPOB “to manufacture bombs”, adding that the defendant had between March and April 2015, “imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala LGA 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”.
Justice Binta Nyako has asked parties in the suit to appear on November 14 to address whether or not the federal government can proceed to re-arraign the IPOB leader on the amended charge, despite the October 13 judgment of the Court of Appeal.