.Biafra referendum

•Warns against the killing of innocent Igbo youths

•Court rejects Kanu’s bail request, strikes out FG’s fresh charge

•Simon Ekpa tackles Nyako for refusing Kanu bail

•Five gunmen arrested in Anambra

•Armed arsonists set Nnewi South LGA Secretariat ablaze

By Ikechukwu Nnochiri, Chidi Nkwopara,Dennis Agbo, Chinonso Alozie & Chimaobi Nwaiwu

THE Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, yesterday, said it does not have any problem with the military, particularly, the Nigerian Army’s killing of criminals and hoodlums still enforcing its long cancelled Monday weekly sit-at-home order.

The group said it would never support criminals making the South East unsafe for habitation, warning, however, that it would never tolerate the killing of innocent Igbo youths.

According to IPOB, those who still enforce the Monday weekly sit-at-home order are not its members but criminals who want to rob people and should be treated as criminals by security agents.

It also disowned the youths said to be enforcing the sit-at-home order at Ihioma and Amaifeke, all in Orlu Local Government of Imo State, who was allegedly killed by the Nigerian Army, describing them as criminals who had been robbing, killing, and setting houses ablaze.

IPOB equally said its members were not part of the criminals and hoodlums who had been circulating fake voice notes in the name of IPOB, threatening people to sit at home from Monday to Thursday when it did not issue such order.

IPOB’s present position came as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, declined to grant bail to the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him.

A statement by IPOB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful entitled, “The Nigerian security must act professionally in flushing out criminals in Biafraland” said that it is an indisputable fact that IPOB initially in August last year, issued Monday weekly sit-at-home, but quickly withdrew and cancelled the order /directive before the second week of its observance, because of the pleadings from Igbo mothers and its possible adverse effect on Igbo economy.

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It also said that it has consistently issued statements telling people not to obey Monday weekly sit-at-home, just as other sit-at-home directives and orders that are not from IPOB’s channels of information dissemination, including the one observed on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, following a fake voice note circulated in Facebook.

IPOB’s statement read: “The global family of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, wish to use this medium to tell the Nigerian Government and its security agencies: the military, particularly the Nigerian Army on a mission to depopulate Biafran youths to drop their wicked agenda.

“We wish to remind them that those they killed in Ihioma and Amaifeke in Orlu Local Government Area were not IPOB members or ESN operatives because IPOB volunteers don’t enforce non-existent Monday weekly sit-at-home.

“It is not in doubt that IPOB issued Monday sit-at-home order in solidarity with our leader, but upon pleas by our mothers and elders, based on its adverse effects on the economy of our people, we quickly rescinded it. Anyone still enforcing Monday weekly sit-at-home is not a genuine IPOB member, but a dissident, or criminal and doesn’t deserve any mercy.

“We have severally threatened to deal with these dissidents giving us a bad name. We even commend security agencies for dealing with such hoodlums in the manner they deserve because of their stubbornness. IPOB is a disciplined and responsible movement. We don’t know where such hoodlums are coming from and what agenda they are pursuing, but certainly not the Biafran agenda.

“We, therefore, ask the security agencies to stop referring to such dissidents as IPOB members because they don’t belong to us. The security agencies should stop associating us with criminals that have no connections whatsoever with IPOB. We equally advise them to be professional in dealing with such characters so that innocent citizens are not caught in the crossfire.

“It is unfortunate that the Nigerian security agencies are turning the truth upside down because they want the public to believe they are working hard while in reality, they are pursuing an Islamist agenda. They kill innocent citizens on the streets and tag them IPOB members and ESN operatives.

“Nigeria Army should leave the innocent people of Orlu in peace and allow them to go about their daily businesses and focus on the terrorists and bandits in the North where killings and kidnappings are the order of the day.

“We remind them once again that IPOB is not responsible for the criminal activities in the whole of Biafraland, including Ihioma and Amaifeke Orlu. No member of IPOB or ESN is missing in Orlu senatorial zone.

“We are calling on the stakeholders of the Eastern Region to come together and fight these criminals trying to blackmail and demonize IPOB. We don’t know them and have absolutely nothing to do with them.

“IPOB securities both ESN and IPOB volunteers are not permitted to do anything that will threaten the lives of Biafrans and this is a fundamental principle and policy of IPOB. Anybody involved in killing and taking lives is not worthy to belong to this hallowed family and IPOB cannot allow such a person to be in our midst.

“As our leader said, what violence that is happening in our Biafra land is sacrilegious and alien to Ndigbo.We believe they are sponsored by enemies of Ndigbo and there is no sense in anyone claiming that IPOB has turned against the people we are fighting for. It can never happen in IPOB.”

Court rejects Kanu’s bail request, strikes out FG’s fresh charge

The court in a ruling that was delivered by trial Justice Binta Nyako, held that Kanu must explain the reason why he breached the previous bail that was given to him before he could enjoy another favourable discretion from it.

“Until the issue of the absence of the defendant for his trial, with all the bail conditions breached, is determined, the instant application of the defendant for bail will at best be premature and it is refused.

“However, the defendant is at liberty to refile the application”, Justice Nyako held.

The court noted that Kanu’s trial had since 2015, suffered various setbacks owing to over 19 interlocutory applications that have been filed in the matter.

It, therefore, implored the parties to allow the case to proceed to trial to enable the charge to be determined, one way or the other.

Kanu had in the application he filed under sections 6(6) and 36(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as sections 161, 162, 163, and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending the determination of the charge against him.

He equally prayed the court to order the Department of State Services, DSS, to produce the medical report of the defendant who is currently in its custody.

Kanu told the court that he was severely tortured for eight days in Kenya before he was repatriated back to Nigeria for the continuation of his trial.

He alleged that his health condition deteriorated, following “a highly poisonous substance” he said was injected into his system, which he said is causing him to have constipation and increased heartbeat.

Insisting that the DSS lacks the necessary medical facility to cater to his health needs, Kanu, told the court that he was kept in solitary confinement where he alleged that he was daily exposed to mental torture.

The IPOB leader told the court that he has “credible and reliable sureties”, pledging that he would not commit any offence while on bail.

Besides, Kanu, argued that he has not been tried or convicted by any court of law in the country, contending that he was entitled to bail.

He further drew the attention of the court to the fact that he was previously released on bail on health grounds.

However, FG, urged the court to refuse the bail application, insisting that Kanu, having realized the gravity of the case against him, would run away from the country and not make himself available for trial.

The court refused Kanu’s bail request, on a day it struck out an amended six-count charge that was brought by FG.

Justice Nyako struck out the charge after it was withdrawn by the Prosecution counsel, Mr David Kaswe.

Kaswe, who is from the Federal Ministry of Justice, withdrew the charge after Kanu’s team of lawyers led by Mike Ozekhome, SAN, accused FG of deliberately frustrating the speedy determination of the case.

Ozekhome noted that the amended charge was served on him, barely 24 hours before the court proceeding.

He maintained that FG introduced fresh issues in the amended charge, including additional documents and proof of evidence that was not originally attached to the case.

“My lord, in one of the attachments, pictures of lawyers waiting to have a meeting with the defendant at the DSS facility, were snapped with a secret camera and displayed.

“Names of his lawyers- Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara- were also mentioned. They have brought new issues and even changed the wording of the charge.

“The fact that the court sustained only seven counts in the previous charge and they have now reduced it to six counts, means that the charge has already been altered. My lord should also note that this is the seventh amendment they have made in this matter”, Ozekhome submitted.

He argued that it was wrong for the Prosecution to insist on proceeding with trial, without firstly rearranging the defendant.

Meanwhile, owing to Ozekhome’s contention, FG’s lawyer, Kaswe, applied to withdraw the amended charge to enable the matter to proceed to trial.

Kaswe told the court that his first witness was available and ready to testify.

Consequently, Justice Nyako struck out the charge.

Meantime, the court, yesterday, adjourned the matter till May 26 to rule on an application Kanu filed to challenge the revocation of his bail.

The defendant is specifically praying the court to set aside the order it made on March 28, 2019, which not only issued a bench warrant for his arrest but also gave FG the nod to try him in absentia.

The IPOB leader told the court that contrary to FG’s allegation that he jumped bail, he fled for his life after his hometown at Afaraukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, was invaded by soldiers.

Simon Ekpa tackles Nyako for refusing Kanu bail

Reacting to the court proceedings, Simon Ekpa, a self-styled disciple of Nnamdi Kanu has lashed out at Justice Binta Nyako over their refusal to grant bail to Nnamdi Kanu.

Ekpa took to his Twitter handle to express his displeasure. The Finland-based agitator referred Justice Nyako to a January 2022 judgment where a high court of Abia State ordered the Federal Government to pay N1bn compensation to Kanu for the violation of his fundamental rights, including the illegal invasion of his country home in Afara Ukwu, Umuahia North Local Government Area in Abia State in September 2017.

“It is an insult for Justice Nyako to claim she needed to know the details surrounding the so-called jumping bail when a court of competent jurisdiction already ruled on that and awarded him damages against the government. Is Binta not aware of this fact?” Ekpa wrote on his known Twitter handle.

Five gunmen were arrested in Anambra

Also yesterday, five men were arrested in Ekwulobia, Aguata Local Government of Anambra State. The men reportedly refused to pay after eating from a mama-put joint and threatened the food vendor for daring to open her shop on a sit-at-home day.

An eyewitness said: “Those guys have been in the habit of eating in a local mama-put on restricted days and refusing to pay. Today in Ekwulobia, they came to do the same thing.

“After eating food of N750 each, they stood up to leave and the woman requested her money. They said Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is in court and you’re opening a shop. One of them brought out a dagger and threatened to pour the woman’s food away, claiming they were gunmen.

“She held one of them in his shirt and said they cannot leave without paying and they should kill her if they like. She started screaming and people doing clean-up rounded them up and handed them over to vigilante.”

Armed arsonists set Nnewi South LGA Secretariat, and police station ablaze at Ukpor

Meantime, barely 48 hours after unknown arsonists razed  Idemili North Local Government Headquarters Ogidi, they have again burnt down Nnewi South Council Secretariat at Ukpor and a police station in the area.

The incident according to sources occurred Tuesday night when the arsonists first set the secretariat ablaze before proceeding to the police station to complete their mission.         

A reliable source from the area recalled that the Ukpor police station had been burnt during the endSARS protest and was later rebuilt only for it to be burnt for the second time just as the Education department of the council secretariat was burnt in February this year and now the main secretariat has followed suit.

Condemning the action, Dr  Boniface Agbala, chairman of Idemili Leaders of Thought and other leaders from the area described the current spate of insecurity in the southeast as very unfortunate.

In Enugu, the metropolis was deserted by people, including notorious police checkpoints that used to witness security presence on ordinary days of the week.

All major and minor economic activities were paralyzed, including banks, government establishments, markets, and artisan concerns.

A  car was reportedly set ablaze in the early morning at Oye-Emene, an Enugu suburb that is home to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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