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Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a group that is illegal, has been released and found not guilty.
On Thursday, Mr. Kanu, who had been in detention for several months, was released by the Abuja-based Appeal Court.
“Appeal allowed, Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi KANU, discharged and acquitted.
“We have won. Victory victory victory victory,” Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Mr Kanu’s lawyer said in a facebook post after the judgement on Thursday.
The Judge, however, acknowledged that counts 1, 3, 4, 5, 13, and 15 showed some allegations against the IPOB leader, saying the trial of the defendant would proceed on those counts.
The suit with Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CR/ 625/2022 challenging the remaining seven-count charges against Kanu was entered by his counsel, Mike Ozekhome SAN urging the Court to quash the remaining charges.
The panel led by Justice Jummai Hannatu Sankey JCA reserved judgement until today.
Sustained Charges from the FHC, Abuja
The prosecution alleged that Mr Kanu, of Afara Ukwu, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, as a member of and leader of proscribed IPOB sometimes in September 2021, committed an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people by allegedly making a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with intent to intimidate the population, threatened that the people would die and that the whole world would standstill. The offence is said to be punishable under section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2015.
The prosecution also alleged that “on diverse dates” between 2018 and 2021 within the jurisdiction of this court, Mr Kanu professed himself to be a member and leader of IPOB, a proscribed organisation in Nigeria.
This, the prosecution said was an offence contrary to and punishments under section 16 of the Terrorism Prevision Amendment Act 2015.
M Kanu also, allegedly, on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria inciting members of the public in Nigeria in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel.
The offence, according to the prosecution, is punishable under section 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.
Mr Kanu, also on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, allegedly broadcasted furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, received and heard in Nigeria in furtherance of an act of terrorism, inciting members of the public in Nigeria a to hunt and kill families of Nigeria security personnel.
The offence is said to be punishable under 1(2)(h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013.
Mr Kanu also allegedly between 2018 and 2021 made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria with intent to incite violence, in furtherance of an act of terrorism against Nigeria and its people, directed members of the public to burn down every federal facility in Lagos resulting in major economic loss to the federal government.
The alleged offences, the prosecution says, are punishable under section 1(2) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment) Act 2013.
The prosecution also alleged that on diverse dates between March and April 2015 Mr Kanu was illegally imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisluzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, a radio transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which he declared as used household items.
The alleged offence was said to be contrary to section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act CapC45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
But in the appeal signed by lead counsel Mike Ozekhome SAN, Kanu prayed the Court of Appeal in Abuja to dismiss the remaining charges against him and discharge him.
Grounds on Appeal:
1. “The Learned Trial Judge erred in law when he failed to consider, make finding of facts and accordingly pronounce on issue one raised for the trial Court’s determination, relating to the extraordinary rendition of the Appellant, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”
2. The learned trial Judge erred in Law, when he held that “the defendant is being charged under Section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act, which has been reproduced above, any offence alleged to have been committed “within” or “outside” Nigeria can be brought under the Act”, thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice”
3. The learned trial Judge erred in law, when he held that although the status of the Indigenous People of Biafra as a proscribed organization is a subject matter before the Court of Appeal, but as long as the appeal has not been determined, the order of Court proscribing is still in force until set aside, and thereby occasioning a miscarriage of justice.
4. The learned trial Judge erred in law when in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Section 216(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, suo motu amended count 15 of the charge, which is founded on an allegation of importation of a radio transmitter in Ubulu -Isiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, and proceeded to assume jurisdiction over offences allegedly committed outside its territorial jurisdiction, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
5. The learned trial Judge erred in law when he held that trials before the Federal High Court are summary, and consequently ruled that counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15 show some semblance of allegation of an offence on which the Court can proceed to trial, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.
The sought reliefs read:-
1. AN ORDER OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT ALLOWING THE APPEAL AND SETTING ASIDE IN ITS ENTIRETY, THE RULING/FINAL DECISION OF THE LEARNED TRIAL COURT, RETAINING COUNTS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 AND 15 OF THE AMENDED CHARGE.
2. AN ORDER OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT UPON GRANTING RELIEF A ABOVE, DISMISSING THE REMAINING COUNTS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 AND 15 AND, ACCORDINGLY DISCHARGING THE APPELLANT ON THOSE COUNTS.
3. AN ORDER OF THIS HONOURABLE COURT TERMINATING THE ENTIRE CHARGE AND DISCHARGING THE APPELLANT.
4. AND FOR SUCH FURTHER ORDER OR ORDERS AS THE HONOURABLE COURT MAY DEEM FIT TO MAKE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS APPEAL.