Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Federal Government has replied a motion filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, seeking an order quashing the charges bordering on treasonable felony preferred against him and his co-defendants.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Magaji Labaran, argued in the reply filed on Wednesday that contrary to Kanu’s contention, the charges preferred against the accused persons were “competent, clear and unambiguous.”
Labaran argued that Kanu filed the application as a ploy to further delay the case, adding that “the proof of evidence attached to the information has clearly linked the first defendant with the charge brought against him.
“My lord, all the grounds upon which this application were brought do not fall within the grounds upon which it will be granted.”
According to Labaran, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which guides criminal proceedings, has prohibited the filing of such objection to charges.
He maintained that the application should not be heard let alone being granted.
He stated, “In furtherance to the above, Section 221 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 prohibits this kind of objection. It stated as thus: ‘Objections shall not be taken or entertained during proceeding or trial on the ground of an imperfect charge or erroneous charge.’
“Also, section 396 of the ACJA 2015 reinforces this position and we rely on this submission in urging this honourable court to dismiss this application.
“My lord, it is so clear to us and we urge the court to consider it as such that, this application is frivolous and it is intended to delay the cause of justice in this case, hence we urge your lordship to discountenance it.
“My lord, a cursory look at the affidavit in support of this application, the court will come to an inevitable conclusion that it contains nothing compelling that will warrant this court to entertain the application let alone granting same.”
Kanu and three others – the National Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi – are being prosecuted by the Federal Government on 11 counts, including treasonable felony.
The defendants are also accused of managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods.
Onwudiwe was specifically accused in one of the counts of an act preparatory to an act of terrorism.
All the counts are in connection with the accused persons’ alleged broadcasts on Radio Biafra and agitation for the secession from Nigeria of, states in the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states to constitute a Republic of Biafra.
However, Kanu, through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, on January 3, 2017, filed an application seeking the court’s order quashing six of the counts specifically preferred against him among the 11 counts.
As part of the grounds of the application, Ejiofor argued that “the six counts preferred against the first defendant/applicant as shown in counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the substantive charge, and the proof of evidence attached thereto, have not disclosed any prima facie case against the first defendant/applicant, such as to warrant setting the substantive charge down for trial against the first defendant/applicant.
“That the proof of evidence attached to the charge has no items constituting the basic ingredients of the offences the first defendant/applicant is being charged with.
“That the six counts preferred against the defendant/applicant are grossly incompetent on the ground that the proof o evidence do not disclose any prima facie case against the first defendant/applicant.
“The proof of evidence does not link the first defendant to the offences allegedly committed.”
The Federal Government had filed its response to the application following the directive by the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, on Tuesday.
Justice Nyako had during Tuesday’s proceedings fixed Thursday, (January 12) for hearing. (Punchng.com)