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Suspense as Nnamdi Kanu appears in court today

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There is suspense across the country today over the much-anticipated court appearance of the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

The State Security Service (SSS) in whose custody Kanu is being remanded had failed to produce him for scheduled proceedings in July.

Kanu is being tried on charges of treasonable felony regarding his separatist activities. The trial is scheduled to resume before Justice Binta Nyako Federal High Court today.

The separatist, who was granted bail in April 2017, fled the country after the invasion of his home in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, by the military in September that year, a situation one of Kanu’s lawyers, Alloy Ejimakor described as the “rule of self-preservation.”

Nyako, subsequently revoked his bail for ditching his trial, and ordered his trial to be separated from the rest of the co-defendants’.

While the trial of the rest of the defendants has made some progress, Kanu’s has been stalled since 2017.

On June 29, 2021, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced that Kanu had been rearrested and brought back to Nigeria to continue facing his trial.

He said the IPOB leader was “intercepted” days earlier but did not give details.

The failure of security operatives to produce Kanu in court last time out prompted his group to declare a sit-at-home in the South-East region but subsequently called it off.

Although IPOB’s leadership has denied any knowledge, their proclamation may have had a hand in the arson, violence and killings that followed.

And there is fear that worse may happen should Kanu not appear in court today.

The Ohanaeze said the appearance of Kanu in Court “is necessary to prove to the global community that Nnamdi Kanu is not only hale and hearty but that shady judicial process is not contemplated while on trial”.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia, the group told the Federal Government that ensuring equity, justice and fairness would definitely bring peace in the nation.

“History shows that it is extremely difficult to have peace amidst injustice.

“Emphatically, we needed not look elsewhere to know that IPOB is simply an exponent of Igbo collective sentiments and predicaments in our tortuous journey and an unquantifiable sacrifice for one Nigeria.

“Ndigbo stands on a firm wicket to proclaim that the agitation and youth restiveness in the South East of Nigeria is simply a reaction or an effect or the consequences of an orchestrated alienation by the federal government over the years.

“The theory of causality quickly reminds us that a phenomenon or a chain of phenomena contributes to the production of other forms of phenomena; where the cause is partly responsible for the effect.

“On the other hand, not until some of the issues of obvious injustice against the Igbo are seen to be addressed, the chains of catastrophe that threaten the corporate existence of Nigeria may well-nigh be inevitable”.

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) says failure of the Department of State Services (DSS) to bring Nnamdi Kanu physically to court on Thursday, October 21 would mean he has been killed in detention.

“MASSOB demands from Federal Government to produce Mazi Nnamdi Kanu physically in court on Thursday, 21st October. Any form of his absence in court physically will be a proof of evidence that he has been killed in DSS detention cage,” it said.

Similarly, Kanu’s legal team led by Ifeanyi Ejiofor, yesterday said “That tomorrow (today), being October 21, 2021, should be sacrosanct. Our client, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, must and shall be produced in court to face his trial”.

Fresh Seven-Count Charge

The Federal Government filed an amended seven-count charge against Kanu, bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism following the pending charges he was facing since 2016.

In reaction, the pan Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, condemned the fresh charges.

Secretary-General,  Sola Ebiseni, said “With the amended seven-count charge against Nnamdi Kanu as released by the media, it appears the Federal Government has come to its wit’s end in the case with the Biafran leader and self-determination agitations generally.

“Without prejudice to the determination of the case by the court, it is clear that its end will certainly compound agitations on the national question, an ill-wind that will blow the Buhari administration and Nigeria no good.

“It is time that the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami exercised authoritative superintendence over his office as the Chief Law Officer and adviser of the Federal Government in a way that the interest of the nation may be served than indulging in petty politicking to massage the ego and pander to the personal idiosyncrasies of the President.

“For instance, the alleged name-calling of Muhammadu Buhari, in April 2015, even before he became the President, would ordinarily be ignored as childish vulgar abuse unworthy of a high profile criminal prosecution.

“A government that admits that mere words of Kanu had become law, either by legitimate obedience or fear, even while in detention, should think out of the box.

“The appropriate mindset is to admit that Nigeria, as a wobbling contraption of entrenched nationalities, is negotiable and that negotiations do not necessarily lead to dismemberment. Let the dialogue begin.”

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