THE Federal Government is set to re-arraign the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on an amended six-count of treasonable felony.
The amendment came on a day the trial Judge, Justice Binta Nyako fixed to hear an application Kanu filed to be released on bail, pending the determination of the charge against him.
A member of Kanu’s legal team, who craved anonymity, says the FG had in the amended charge, listed some lawyers representing the embattled IPOB leader, including Misters Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara, as accomplices of the defendant.
It is gathered that the FG alleged that the said lawyers, were constantly in contact with Kanu after he jumped bail and fled the country.
Justice Binta Nyako had on April 8, struck out eight out of the 15-count treasonable felony FG preferred against Kanu.
Justice Nyako held that the charges were mere repetitions that did not disclose any offence that could be sustained by the proof of evidence before the court.
Scenes from the court showed Kanu, his lawyer Mike Ozekhome and supporters in triumphant celebration over the amendment.
FG had in the counts that were struck out, purported that Kanu had through his broadcasts, incited members of the public to not only stage a violent revolution but to attack police officers and also destroy public facilities in Lagos State.■
THIS is purposely to inform my esteemed readers that IPOB and MASSOB are pro-Biafran groups but are not exclusive in seeking the right to self-determination of the people of Biafra.
I want to inform every foreign embassies, emissaries, high commissions and diplomatic posts that the people of Biafra are not restricted to members of IPOB and MASSOB but these are Indigenous peoples domiciled in the old eastern region of Nigeria and suffered greatly a genocide between 1967-70.
This is specifically to appeal to the British High Commission in Nigeria on its decision to exclude Indigenous Biafrans from all asylum and human rights claims made in the UK.
As much as its decision is for those persons affiliated with IPOB and MASSOB, efforts must be made not to enforce the commission’s decision to non-members of these pro-Biafran groups.
Though it must be noted that the proscription of IPOB by the Nigerian government has an ongoing law suit filed by attorneys of the directorates of IPOB for the de-proscription of the pro-Biafran group as a terrorist sect.
I beg to question, on what ground is MASSOB also included in the exclusion for asylum in the UK?
The UK government must understand that Indigenous Biafrans are been targeted with violence including killings by the Nigerian security forces for seeking the right to self-determination as recognized by international laws and instruments.
Indigenous peoples rights are collective rights. In essence, they are vested in Indigenous individuals that organise themselves as peoples.
The international community clearly affirms that Indigenous people require recognition of their collective rights as peoples to enable them to enjoy human rights.
Also, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples articulates in its Article 1 & 2 that Indigenous peoples and individuals are: free and equal to all peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination in the exercise of their rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin and identity.
The British High Commission should understand that the right to self-determination in Nigeria is grossly abused by the Muhammadu Buhari led government as he openly disclosed in a press interview with Martin Dennise of Aljazeera in March 2016 in which he blatantly refused to watch the video clip of the shooting and killing of peaceful IPOB demonstrators which occurred in Aba, Abia State.
The UK government must accord to Indigenous Biafrans the same respect and human rights protection as accorded the people of Scotland seeking the same right to self-determination.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Opinion~Afor~20th February,2022 @ 12:34 WAT
Author: Ikenga Onyekachi
WHAT is the Ishi-Agu?
Ishi-Agu is a popular traditional attire originated from the old eastern region imprinted with the face of a roaring lion or leopard.
I am not about to become a fashion analyst or a designer but my point of writing is the fear of Nigerian Department of State Security (DSS) and Judge Binta Nyako by denying the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, from choosing his own clothing in which to appear for his trial.
The defence counsel, had reported to the trial judge that the DSS rejected the clothing brought for Kanu by his brother thereby going against the court order for a change of clothing for his client.
The trial Judge Binta Nyako, seeking the response of the DSS representative was told that the clothing brought for Kanu was engraved with the face of a lion which the DSS described as intimidating and provocative.
Then, the trial judge demanded from Kanu what kind of clothing he prefers, the IPOB leader replied he prefers the traditional attire which is the Ishi-Agu.
Unbelievable, Judge Binta Nyako rejected his choice of Ishi-Agu and told the defence counsel to provide plain clothing for his client. She even claimed she has the Ishi-Agu attire but will not allow Kanu wear such to her courtroom.
Judge Binta Nyako quickly forgot that two of the former co-defendant of Nnamdi Kanu, Bright Chimezie and Benjamin Maduagwu appeared in her courtroom on February 2nd wearing the Ishi-Agu attire.
There are no fair reasons to deny Nnamdi Kanu his choice of clothing as long as it is decent but decision of the trial judge shows disdain for the people of old eastern region as always portrayed by the Nigerian government.
The Nigerian government has changed the right to self-determination to treasonable felony to justify the trial of Nnamdi Kanu and other Biafran prisoners of conscience.
The administration of Muhammadu Buhari in all efforts to imprison the IPOB leader has contravened its own constitution, including international charters and conventions.
Till date, the Nigerian government has failed to explain the abduction of Nnamdi Kanu from Kenya. Rather the Kenyan government has publicly stated that Kanu was never subjected to any extradition or even deportation as official record showed he was legally admitted into the country.
The Nigerian government contravened its own constitution which provided in its fundamental rights at Section 35(1) that ‘No person shall be deprived of his liberty save in accordance with a procedure permitted by law.’
This simply means that since Kanu was never legally extradited it implies his personal liberty has been grossly abused and not in accordance with the law.
Notably, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights which Nigeria is a signatory and bounded affirmed in Article 6 that “No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be arbitrarily arrested or detained.”
Therefore, the Nigeria government needs to explain if Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in accordance with law of Kenya or he was kidnapped and brought to Nigeria.
The same African Charter clearly stated in its Principles and Guidelines on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Part 5(A) as thus: “A state may not transfer ,(e.g deport, expel, remove, extradite) an individual to the custody of another state unless it is prescribed by law and in accordance with due process and other international human rights obligations. Deportation, expulsion, and removal cannot be used to circumvent criminal justice processes, including extradition procedures. Extra-ordinary renditions, or any other transfer without due process is prohibited.”
The Nigerian government is by treaty bounded by this law but failed woefully in abiding bumy it.
The administration of Muhammadu Buhari in collaboration with the political jobbers of Igbo origin can continue to play games with the trial of Nnamdi Kanu but they must understand that the IPOB leader is not the Sovereign State of Biafra.
With or without Nnamdi Kanu, the struggle continues until victory is assured.
My friendly advice to them is to prepare for the next phase in which the clamour for self-determination for Biafrans shall occur and may become too violent and incomparable with the recent actions of unknown gunmen.
It is obvious the youths have become more daring and volatile.■
Please be informed that the view and expression of the author are personal and does not represent that of SUNBIGHT MEDIA.
<SUNBIGHT>~Nigeria~Nkwo~16th February,2022 @ 15:57 WAT
Report by Madukwe Nnochironye [Abuja]
SUSPENDED deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, has accused members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Eastern Security Network (ESN) for his travails.
He made the claim when he appeared before the probe panel chaired by Joseph Egbunike, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) at the Force Headquarters in Abuja.
Kyari’s claim was contained in a report submitted by the panel to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Baba, which was in turn forwarded to the Police Service Commission (PSC).
He was quoted to have said: “It is a campaign to smear his reputation by members of IPOB/ESN who vowed to destroy him, due to his onslaught against them in the South East.”
It was reported that the panel faulted Kyari’s claim, saying it is watery and recommended his demotion from the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police to Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Recall that in July 2021, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indicted Kyari of conspiring with Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, in a $1.1 million scam.
Meanwhile, while the Nigerian Minister of Justice is stalling on the extradition of the embattled senior police officer.
On Monday February 14, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) exposed Kyari and declares him wanted “over his involvement in a 25kg cocaine deal”, which prompted the Police Headquarters to effect his arrest and then transferred him to the custody of the NDLEA.
In a meeting held on Thursday,February 10, the Police Service Commission decided to set up another panel to investigate the allegation made against DCP Kyari in regard to the $1 million scam masterminded by Hushpuppi.
The new panel of investigation has being directed to finalise and present its reports in two weeks.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Abuja~Afor~16th February,2022 @ 16:27 WAT
HUMAN rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome(SAN), who is the lead counsel to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, raised the alarm that his client’s sight had deteriorated.
Ozekhome told the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, that Kanu, who is currently in custody of the Department of State Service, DSS, may go blind if nothing was urgently done to restore his sight.
The senior lawyer, who recently took over the defence team of the embattled IPOB leader, said his client’s pair of eyeglasses was confiscated in 2015, when he was initially arrested by DSS operatives, following his return to Nigeria from the United Kingdom.
He equally told the court that a new pair that Kanu bought was also seized from him during his extraordinary rendition from Kenya.
Besides, Ozekhome bemoaned that despite an express order of the court, the DSS declined to allow the IPOB leader to have a change of clothing.
He alleged that the security agency refused to allow Kanu to receive new clothes that were brought to him by his younger brother, Emmanuel.
“My Lord will still see the defendant in the same uniform which my lord warned against in the last proceedings.
“It will be recalled that they had on that day alleged that he said that he preferred to wear the same cloth because it is designers.
“However, since that time, the younger brother of the defendant, his lawyer and sister have gone three times with materials for him to change, but they refused collecting them.
“So bad was it that Ejiofor had to call the Director of Legal Services and complained to him.
“The Director told him that he would do something about it, that he would contact the Director of Operations to ensure that the order was carried out.
“But since then, nothing has been done. They have not allowed him to change his clothes.”
On the issue of Kanu’s sight, Ozekhome said: “My lord, since 2015, his glasses were taken from him.
“The one he wore before his extraordinary rendition from Kenya was also taken from him.
“Till now, he does not have glasses to wear and his sight is deteriorating.
“My Lord we do not want the Defendant to go blind, that is why we have decided to bring it to the attention of the court.”
Meanwhile, after she had listened to Ozekhome, trial Justice Binta Nyako said she would look into the matter.■
SECURITY operatives around the Federal High Court in Abuja have blocked all roads leading to the court premises making it difficult for people to have easy access, SaharaReporters has learnt.
It was gathered that security agents were asking for clearance before they allowed people to move closer to the court premises.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is expected to appear in court before Justice Binta Nyako today to resume the 15-count charge leveled against him by the Nigerian government.
Reports gathered by SaharaReporters revealed that security agents of the Department of State Services (DSS) and the police have barricaded roads to tighten security at the Federal High Court, Abuja.
A source around the court said, “There is road blockage from down the road and people entering the court must have a clearance before they are being allowed into the Federal High Court.”
The last court case was in December 2021 which also witnessed a large security presence.■
IN an interview aired on Channels Television on Wednesday night monitored by SUNBIGHT MEDIA, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari stated that the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, should defend himself in court for disseminating false information about his administration.
Recall that in November 2021, some notable Igbo elders led by former Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, visited the President in Aso Rock and requested the unconditional release of the detained pro-Biafran activist.
During the visit, Buhari had told them he would not want to interfere in the running of the judiciary but said he would consider their demand which he described as a “heavy one”.
Speaking on Wednesday night, the Nigerian President said “There is one institution that I wouldn’t interfere with, that is the judiciary, Kanu’s case is with the judiciary but what I wonder is when Kanu was safely in Europe, abusing this administration and mentioning too many things, I thought he wants to come and defend himself on the accusations.”
“So, we are giving him an opportunity to defend himself in our system, not to be abusing us from Europe as if he was not a Nigerian. Let him come here with us and then criticise us here. Nigerians know that I don’t interfere with the judiciary, let him be listened to. But those who are saying that he should be released, no, we cannot release him.”
On the possibility for a political solution, Buhari said, “There is a possibility of political solution. If people behave themselves, all well and good but you can’t go to a foreign country and keep on sending incorrect economic and security problems (sic) against our country and thinking that you would not account for what you have been doing. Let him (Kanu) account for what he has been doing.”
The 54 year-old pro-Biafra activist was first arrested in 2017 but fled the country after the invasion of his country home by the Nigerian armed forces in 2018.
After about three years abroad, Kanu was re-arrested in Kenya and whisked to Nigeria in June 2021. He has been re-arrainged in the Abuja High Court for terrorism-related charges and was remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Secret Security Services with his trial set to continue on January 18, 2022.■
THE leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) has pleaded not guilty to charges brought against him by the Nigerian Department of Secret Service (DSS). Recall, Nnamdi Kanu was abducted from Kenya in June and repatriated to Nigeria to face trial.
On Thursday at the Federal High Court Abuja was the first time Kanu has been seen in public since he was captured.
The IPOB leader/Radio Biafra Director was brought to face trial by heavily armed state security agents; lawyers, journalists and supporters were barred from entering into the court room.
Kanu is charged with terrorism, treason, involvement with a banned separatist movement, inciting public violence through radio broadcasts, and defamation of Nigerian authorities through broadcasts.
Kanu pleaded not guilty to those charges, after the court session his lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, addressed the press and supporters that the dismissal of charges is being sought.
“We’re challenging the seven-count amended charge.” Ejiofor said. “Once the court hears it and rules in our favor, that’s the end of the case and he’ll walk out of court a free person.”
The presiding Judge Binta Nyako adjourned the trial to November 10 and denied the defence application for the transfer of Kanu to a correctional facility in Abuja, where he’d be more accessible, instead of the secret service custody.
The IPOB, led by Kanu, is a civil pro-Biafran group agitating for the right to self-determination from Nigeria.
The Nigerian government outlawed the activities of the group in 2017, accusing it of terrorism and seeking to cause disunity in the country.
But the IPOB continued to win supporters, especially in the southeastern region, where the movement is most active.
The IPOB has launched a security arm, the Eastern Security Network, ESN, which authorities blame for unrest in the region and the killing of more than 120 people this year.
The IPOB has denied the allegations. Public affairs analyst Abu Mohammed, a supporter of the separatist movement, said the Nigerian government’s failures are motivating separatists.
“Today they’re calling for another system of government that may not work and that is why people are agitating,” Mohammed said. “If we’re supposed to get to so-so place and we haven’t gotten there, definitely there should be separation for us to go because maybe we have our vision.”
Southeastern Nigeria was largely shut down on Thursday after the IPOB called for a “sit-at-home” strike to show solidarity with Kanu.■
■ Pro-Biafran group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has insisted on its call for the removal of Nigerian flags hoisted in premises or anywhere designated as Biafran territory.
In a press release on Friday, IPOB spokesperson, Emma Powerful, stated that institutions in the region must dismantle Nigerian flags hoisted within their domain, warning against the failure to comply with the directive.
“We equally appreciate and commend those institutions and churches including companies who, on their own, dismantled Nigeria flags in their premises. IPOB will never relent in our resolve to restore Biafra,” he said.
“Any institution, company, hotel, etc that is yet to comply with this directive should stop waiting for us to remove the flags for them. They should simply do the needful because disobedience is not a good option.”
Reports monitored by SUNBIGHT MEDIA have stated that some hotels, banks and religious houses in the region have heeded the directive to remove Nigerian flags in their premises.
The civil pro-Biafran group has also threatened to declare a month-long lockdown in their region if its leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, does not appear in court on the adjourned date of 22 October, 2021.■
■ *Sets up committee to interface with FG, Stakeholders
*Condemns destruction of lives and properties in SE
*Charges police, others on security
The South East Caucus of the National Assembly has resolved to intervene in issue and detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
This was contained in a communiqué issued by the lawmakers after an extraordinary session, which held at the residence of the former Deputy President of the Senate and Leader of the Caucus, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
The communiqué, which was rendered by the Leader, South East Caucus of the National Assembly, Senator Ekweremadu, reads in part: “The South East Caucus of the National Assembly held an extraordinary session on Wednesday, September 15, 2021, to review developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“The Caucus elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution”.
They, however, “noted with delight” the call-off of the weekly sit-at-home in the South East by IPOB.
“The Caucus reviewed the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of our people. The Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon our region.
“The Caucus noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“We call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as undertake their legitimate businesses”.
However, while expressing solidarity with the people of the region over what they described as injustices meted to them, the lawmakers them not to allow anyone to destroy what the Igbo built by their sweat.
“The Caucus expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country.
“We, however, appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat. It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc. The result is the comparative transformation witnessed in every nook and cranny of Igbo land post-civil war. Therefore, as a people, we cannot begin to undermine ourselves or become our own nemesis.
“Times like these call for introspection. We must also always bear in mind that our people thrive on industry, commerce, and the informal sector. Importantly, most of our people depend on daily income. Therefore, while we must fight for our rights and legitimately express our displeasures over every form of mistreatment, injustice, and inequity, we certainly cannot afford to be the proverbial lizard that ruined his mother’s funeral. Anything that threatens Igbo businesses, the peace, security, and stability of the South East threatens our very existence as a people.
“Consequently, bearing in mind that if we allow cracks in the wall, lizards will invade our home, we must all pull together as one people to discourage and resist any tendencies and actions, within or without, which pollute our business environments or encourages anarchy and instability in our region”.
The Caucus equally condemned in strong terms the disruption of examination in Imo State, saying it was not in the character of the region and called on the security agencies to fish out the culprits.
“We resolved to condemn in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers. This is certainly not who we are as a people. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
Meanwhile, they assured that they would “join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where our rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of our unborn generations are guaranteed”.
“We are resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested”, they added.●