The leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was in the morning of Thursday, October 21 brought to the Federal High Court in Abuja to continue his trial.
He was recently “extraordinarily renditioned” to Nigeria from Kenya on June 29 to face treasonous charges. Nigeria’s attorney general slammed additional seven-count charge on him on Tuesday, October 19. His lawyers said all charges against their client are “worthless and watery“.
One of the new charge reads, “That you Nnamdi Kanu, …. imported into Nigeria ….., a Radio transmitter known as TRAM 50l concealed in a container of used household Wich you declared as used household items and you thereby committed an offence contrary to …. Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
Kanu’s arrival at the Abuja court puts to rest fears about his life or health since federal authorities failed to bring him to court as scheduled on July 26.
Heavy security presence of a combined team of police, army and the state secret police estimated in their thousands secured the court area and its environs.
Security men had a difficult time controlling the surging crowd of supporters. In one instance, scuffles ensued between police Omoloye Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and was later arrested. Several lawyers in Kanu’s defense team were also barred from accessing the court. Special counsel to the defendant, Alloy Ejimakor, complained to the press, “They want to grab me and put me in the courtroom alone. I am not going into this courtroom alone. I am going in with this multitude of lawyers who have come to show solidarity. So I am standing outside here in protest.”
In the eastern states, a region known for industrial and commercial activities shut down all business and social activities in compliance with IPOB’s Sit-At-Home order in solidarity with their leader.
The presiding judge, Binta Nyako, after Mr Kanu pleaded not guilty to the additional charges adjourned proceedings to Wednesday 10 November.
The IPOB legal team includes Ifeanyi Ejiofor (lead counsel), Alloy Ejimakor (Special counsel), and Bruce Stein who represents the secessionist organization in the United States, amongst others.
IPOB supporters believe their leader is being persecuted for his political views and his agitations to secure a referendum for the eastern region to decide whether to remain part of Nigeria or separate into a sovereign nation-state of Biafra.