Legal Nigeria

Govt lists six treason charges against Kanu

Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) leader and Radio Biafra Director Nnamdi Kanu is to be charged with treason.
Kanu was arrested on October 14 in Lagos and arraigned before an Abuja Magistrate’s Court on October 19. The court struck out the charges brought against him by the Department of State Service (DSS) because the prosecution applied to withdraw the charges.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, on November 10, ordered that Kanu be detained for 90 days but dismissed this ruling on December 17 and ordered the DSS to release Kanu after holding him for about two months. He also vacated his earlier order permitting the DSS to detain Kanu for 90 days.
However, Kanu’s arraignment, which was scheduled for yesterday, did not hold because the hearing notices were not served on parties involved.
The six-count charge of treasonable felony filed against Kanu and two others last Friday by the Federal Ministry of Justice was listed yesterday before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court but no proceedings were conducted because the prosecution was not represented, though the defence was represented by Ifeanyi Ejiofor.
It was gathered that no hearing notice had been served on parties as at yesterday and that Ejiofor was only in court having learnt about the pendency of the charge informally.
Ejiofor said though he was yet to be served any hearing notice, he confirmed yesterday that the state had, indeed, filed a fresh charge against his client, a day after a judge, also of the Federal High Court, ordered his unconditional release.
“I know they filed the new charge to justify their continued detention of my client after the court ordered his release. We are filing our bail application tomorrow (today) to compel them to come before the court to justify his continued detention, failure of which they shall be compelled to release him,” Ejiofor said.
It was also gathered that Kanu and others may be arraigned today and if that fails to hold, the trial will be shifted till after the Christmas holidays.
Policemen and DSS officials maintained heavy presence around the court from 7am till 1. 30pm, but left hurriedly on learning that the arraignment had been shifted till a later date.
Kanu is being charged with, among other things, engaging in acts of terrorism and sponsoring same, belonging to an unlawful society and inciting the public against the Nigerian state.
The Nation