….insists on hearing of his preliminary objection challenging competence of charge
ABUJA–The detained leader of the Indegenious People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, on Wednesday, pleaded not guilty to the fresh amended 15-count treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him.
Kanu, who was brought into the courtroom around 10:15am, said he was innocent of all the allegations FG levelled against him, even as he complained from the dock that some counts in the amended charge were similar.
Meanwhile, immediately the embattled IPOB leader finished taking his plea, the Prosecution counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial, adding that he brought two witnesses to testify against the Defendant.
However, Kanu’s lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, told the court that he had on Tuesday evening, filed a 43-paged Preliminary Objection for the charge to be quashed and struck out without the matter proceeding to trial.
“We are further asking that the Defendant should be discharged and acquitted as there is nothing in this charge. It has no basis at all.
“We also have a motion requesting the court to grant bail to the Defendant”, Ozekhome added.
On his part, FG’s lawyer, Labaran, argued that Kanu’s two applications were not ripe for hearing, stressing that he would require time to go through them so as to be able to respond.
“In essence, business of the day cannot be allowed to be truncated by these applications”, he argued.
In a brief ruling, Justice Nyako noted that since Kanu’s first application is challenging the propriety of his trial as well as competence of the charge against him, the court ought to hear it first.
“As for the second motion (on the issue of bail), I don’t even want to talk about it, at least not at this stage”, Justice Nyako held.
The court subsequently adjourned till February 16 to hear the pending application.
More details soon.