By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, alleged a plot by the Federal Government to keep him in detention perpetually .
He told a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that the treason allegation government levelled against him and three other pro-Biafra agitators, were “merely smokescreen charges” concocted to ensure that he remained in detention.
Consequently, he prayed trial Justice Binta Nyako to quash the entire 11-count charge preferred against him and his co-defendants — Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
Kanu equally applied for an order discharging and acquitting him and the other pro-Biafra agitators.
The four defendants, through their respective lawyers, queried the competence of the charge, saying there was nothing in the proof of evidence before the court to support allegations against them.
In an affidavit deposed to by one Ahmed Sadiya, the defendants said: “Nothing contained in the proof of evidence showed that IPOB, people merely exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to self determination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, is an unlawful society/organisation.”
Radio Biafra duly registered in UK
Kanu said the only evidence the prosecution attached in support of treason allegation against him was an extra-judicial statement he made to the Department of State Services, statement made by the prosecution witnesses, and highlight of alleged Radio Biafra broadcasts.
He told the court that Radio Biafra was duly registered and operated under the United Kingdom Laws.
According to him, “there is nothing in the proof of evidence filed in support of the charge to show that the radio transmitters imported into the country are either prohibited or improperly imported.
“That the right to self determination, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association are inalienable rights duly recognised and protected under extant laws and international conventions, the United Nations Charter and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.”
Kanu maintained that the court had the powers and a duty to stop a prosecution, which on the facts, creates abuse and injustice.
He said it would be unjust and painful to put him on trial when there was no link between him and the offences charged for.
“The court is respectfully urged to quash the present charge against the 1st defendant and, consequently, discharge and acquit him of the offences contained in the bogus charge,” Kanu added.
Meantime, sequel to their application, Justice Nyako adjourned the case till tomorrow to enable Federal Government file its response.
Access to lawyers
Earlier, Justice Nyako ordered security operatives to always grant the defendants access to their lawyers.
The order followed complaint by counsel to the defendants, led by Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Okpara, that security operatives at Kuje prison blocked them from having access to their clients.
Ejiofor further alleged that some persons that went to visit Kanu sometime last year were arrested and killed by security operatives.
However, government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, refuted the allegation which he said was just being brought to his attention for the first time.
Labaran accused the defendants of attempting to delay their trial through frivolous applications.
He told the court that one of the defendants earlier wrote a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, begging for an out-of-court settlement of the matter.
Before adjourning the case, Justice Nyako warned security operatives against being overzealous about the trial.
Kanu and his co-defendants wore shawls like Israeli Rabbis.
Protesters storm court
Meanwhile, scores of protesters stormed the court premises, yesterday, chanting pro-Biafra songs, with most of them also dressed in Jewish apparels.
The protesters, barred from gaining access into the court, brandished placards and several Biafra insignia and flags.
Armed security operatives also blocked several journalists from entering the courtroom.
Kanu had on December 12, threatened that he would in the course of the trial, expose secrets he said would sink Nigeria. The defendants equally alleged plot by FG to import foreigners to testify against them.