By Ikechukwu Nnochiri
ABUJA — Detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, yesterday, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of committing treasonable felony against Nigeria.
Kanu made reference to the December 31, 1983 military coup that led to the installation of Buhari as Head of State, while praying trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja to quash the 11-count treason charge the government entered against him and three other pro-Biafra agitators.
The said coup ousted the democratically elected government of President Shehu Shagari.
Moving his preliminary objection to the charge, Kanu, through his lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said: “My lord it was Buhari that committed treasonable felony in 1983 when he spearheaded a coup that overthrew a democratically elected government, not my client.”
The defendants queried the competence of the charge, saying there was nothing in the proof of evidence before the court to support treason allegation against them.
They argued that Federal Government failed to establish a prima-facie case against them to warrant their trial.
In a seven-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Ahmed Sadiya, the defendants, said there was “nothing contained in the proof of evidence to show that IPOB, people merely exercising their constitutionally guaranteed rights to self determination, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, is an unlawful society/organisation.”
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 a State Services, a 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.
The IPOB leader is facing trial alongside Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
All the defendants, through their respective lawyers, urged the court to not only quash charges, but to also discharge and acquit them.
FG asks court to dismiss defendants’ objections
Meanwhile, government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, in his response, asked the court to dismiss the defendants’ objections which he said lacked substance.
Labaran urged the court to, in-line with the provision of section 396 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, refuse the applications and okay witnesses to commence their evidence-in-chief against the defendants.
Meantime, the defendants have applied for a stay of further proceeding on the matter to enable the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to hear and determine the appeal they have lodged against their trial.
Trial Justice Nyako has fixed February 10 to determine whether to quash charges against the defendants or not.
Kanu and his co-defendants were dressed in white with shawl like Israeli Rabbis, and skullcaps on their head.
Scores of protesters also stormed the court premises chanting pro-Biafra songs, with most of them also dressed in jewish apparels.
The protesters who were barred from gaining access into the court, brandished placards and several Biafra insignia and flags.