The trial of leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB and two others charged with him on charges of treasonable felony by the Federal Government began on a dramatic note and amidst tight security at Federal High Court, Abuja on Tuesday morning.
Kanu, on arrival at the court from Kuje prison where he was ordered to be remanded by the court, had refused to come down from the prison vehicle or allow the warders take off the handcuff he was brought to court in.
The IPOB leader had insisted that he will go inside the courtroom with the handcuff in his hand.
But his lawyer’s intervention resolved the dispute that may have led to the delay in the commencement of the trial. Justice James Tshoho of Federal High Court, Abuja division had on Friday, 29 January denied Kanu and his two co-accused bail.
He ordered them to be remanded in prison custody pending the outcome of his trial.
The Judge had based the denial of bail on the fact that the offences the IPOB leader were charged with borders on national security.
He also said Kanu’s possession of dual citizenship enhances his possibility of escaping from Nigeria if granted bail, as argued by the prosecution counsel.
The Judge however, ordered an accelerated hearing of his case as he adjourned trial till February 9, 10, 11 and 12.
Kanu, who is also a director of the pirate Radio Biafra was arrested by operatives of Department of State Security Service (DSS), in October 2015 in an hotel in Lagos.
He was arraigned on 20 January charged with treason and other offences bordering on his agitation for the secession of eastern part of Nigeria, alongside Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
The charge against them read: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown per sons, now at large, at London, United Kingdom, between 2014 and September, 2015 with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the President to change his measures of being the President of the Federation, Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation as defined in Section 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by doing an act to wit: Broadcast on Radio Biafra your preparations for the states in the South- East geo-political zone, South-South geo-political zone, the Igala Community of Kogi State and the Idoma/Igede Community of Benue State to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and form themselves into a Republic of Biafra, and thereby committed an offence punish- able under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“That you, Nnamdi Kanu and others, now at large, between 2012 and September, 2015 at South-East geo-political zone and the South-South geo-political zone of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court manage an unlawful society with more than 10 members to wit: unregistered with the Corporate Affairs Commission or any other registration authority to wit. The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) thereby committed an offence which is punishable under Section 63 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
“That you, Nnamdi Kanu between the months of March and April, 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiuzor town in Ihiala local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, a radio transmitter known as TRAM 5OL concealed in a container which you described as containing household items, which you so declared and that, you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 47(2) (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act.”
The counts four and five accused the trio of being involved in the management of unlawful society and unlawful possession of firearms.
“That you Benjamin Madubugwu in the month of April, 2015 at Ubulusiuzor town, Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State of Nigeria within the juris- diction of this honourable court assisted in the man- agent of an unlawful society known as the In- digenous People of Biafra (IPOB) by doing an act to wit, accepted and kept in your residence a container housing a radio transmit- term known as TRAM 50L, with knowledge that the said transmitter belongs to an unlawful society (known as IPOB) and that you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 63 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004,” the sixth count read.