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.■
<SUNBIGHT>~Bakassi Peninsula~Eke~26th February,2022 @ 15:14 WAT
Report by Okwuchi Sampson Ezeh
THE Biafra Nations League (BNL) has kicked against the military raids in the South East and Bakassi Peninsula of Nigeria, threatening retaliation against the interest of the Nigerian government.
A senior official of the armed Pro-Biafran group, Mr Godstime Ntukidem, said that there will consequences for the military operations in the areas.
Continuing, he stated that BNL will “bite the government where it pains them”
The BNL led by Princewill Richards, also mentioned the group’s solidarity with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, calling for his immediate and unconditional release from detention of the Nigerian secret security services aka DSS.■
<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>~Abuja~Nkwo~17th February,2022 @ 15:45 WAT
THE Department of State Service, DSS, on Wednesday, explained to the Federal High Court in Abuja, why it stopped the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, from receiving new clothes.
However, when DSS said they refused the clothes brought by Kanu’s younger brother because it had a lion’s head insignia, Kanu said it was the traditional attire of his people.
Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome(SAN), said he had same clothes and see no reason why Kanu can’t wear it.
Trial Justice Nyako, while admitting that she equally owns the type of wear, stressed that she would not allow Kanu to wear it to court for his trial.
“The Defendant will not wear it in this my court. He can wear it to any other place, but not inside this my court,” she added.
Turning to Kanu who was in the dock, the trial judge asked him the type of clothes he would want.
“I want to wear the clothes of my people which is ‘Isi-Agu’,” Kanu replied.
“No, you will not wear it,” the judge countered him.
“But I can’t understand why I cannot wear it,” Kanu fired back.
Justice Nyako said he would allow Kanu to wear plain-coloured clothes or retain the one he has been wearing, if that was his wish.
“I do want to change, but they refused,” Kanu explained.
“Yes, because you want to wear something with insignia,” Justice Nyako noted.
Kanu had, Ozekhome, complained that despite an express order of the court, he was yet to have a change of clothing.
He had, since he was re-arrested in June 2021, wore the same Fendi designers jump suit to court for his trial.
At the resumed proceedings in the 15-count treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him, Kanu’s lawyer decried that the security agency refused to allow Kanu to receive new clothes his younger brother took to him.
DSS explains clothes brouhaha
Then, shortly before she fixed April 8 to rule on Kanu’s application for the charge against him to be quashed, trial Justice Binta Nyako summoned the Director of Legal Services, DSS, to explain why Kanu was denied access to new clothes and his eye glasses.
Responding, the DSS official told the court that the clothes were rejected because it contained an insignia that is associated with the IPOB.
He told the court that clothes that were brought for Kanu in detention had lion’s head emblazoned on them.
“My lord, I have been on the issue of his clothing for quite some time now. The issue was that they brought clothes with lion’s head.
“We looked at the clothes and said no. That this is why we are in court and it offends our standard of operation,” DSS said.
Continuing, the DSS Director said: “As at the time he was arrested, there was a bag that he had with him.
“When we brought that bag to him, he looked at the clothes inside it and said he does not want them.”
It was at this point the back and forth about the clothes started.■
<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 a communique circulated at the end of the BNL National Executive Council meeting held in Bakassi Peninsula yesterday, the pro-Biafra armed group insisted on the January 23, 2022 ultimatum issued to the Nigeria Presidency to release IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and also leader of Biafra Zionist Federation, Benjamin Onwuka, including all Biafra activists in detention.
The group described the rejection of the plea to release Nnamdi Kanu by President Muhammadu Buhari as disrespect to the elders who visited him on that regard, stating “There will be more insecurity as a result of his stubbornness.”
The communique released to press and signed by the National Leader, Princewill Chimezie Richards, Deputy Leader, Ebuta Akor Takon and General Admin Officer, God’stime Ntukidem, did not disclose its plans on what to expect over the failure of the Nigerian government to adhere to the ultimatum.
Furthermore, the group stated it “is preparing its ground and all volunteers of our defence wing will apply force in executing any activity that will affect the economy of the Nigerian State, especially in Cameroon borders and on the sea.”■
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.■
Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday adjourned till January 19, 2021, the trial of detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
But there was confusion as Kanu’s team of lawyers staged a walkout over the refusal of operatives of the Department of State Services to allow some of them to gain access into the courtroom.
Kanu, who was brought into the courtroom around 9.52am, had shortly after his case was called up bemoaned the refusal of security agents to allow some members of his legal team, especially his lawyer from the United State of America, Bruce Fein, to enter the courtroom.
He told Justice Nyako that Fein, who was handling a case for him in the US, was around to witness his trial.
“I have an ongoing case in the US. I have not been allowed to see him. He is here to see me and to observe the proceedings.
“He has been to the DSS to see me, but they denied him access to me,” Kanu stated from the dock.
When asked by the Judge, if he was ready to conduct the proceedings himself, in the absence of his lawyers, Kanu said no.
Meanwhile, counsel for the Federal Government and Director of Public Prosecution, M. D. Abubakar, urged the court to proceed with the trial in the absence of Kanu’s lawyers.
He told the court that the matter was fixed for the hearing of an application that was filed by the defendant.
Abubakar argued that since Kanu’s lead counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who was initially inside the courtroom, walked out with his team shortly before the arrival of the judge, his pending application should be deemed abandoned.
Delivering a short ruling, Justice Nyako expressed displeasure over the conduct of Kanu’s lawyers.
She declined to dismiss the pending application and rather adjourned the case till January 19 and 20, 2022, for trial.■
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.■