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JUST IN: FG Amends Charges Against Nnamdi Kanu, Lists Lawyers As Accomplices

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Nigeria’s federal government has concluded arrangements to re-arraign Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on an amended six-count charge of treasonable felony.

The amendment came on a day trial Justice Binta Nyako fixed to hear an application Kanu filed to be released on bail, pending the determination of the charge against him.

A member of Kanu’s legal team, who craved anonymity, told Vanguard on Wednesday that FG had in the amended charge, listed some lawyers representing the embattled IPOB leader, including Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Mr. Maxwell Opara, as accomplices of the defendant.

FG, it was gathered, alleged that the said lawyers, were constantly in contact with Kanu after he jumped bail and fled the country, Vanguard reported.

It will be recalled that Kanu was subsequently re-arrested and returned back to the country from Kenya, under controversial circumstances.

Trial Justice Binta Nyako had on April 8, struck out eight out of the 15-count treasonable felony charge FG preferred against Kanu.

Justice Nyako held that the charges were mere repetitions that did not disclose any offense that could be sustained by the proof of evidence before the court.

FG had in the counts that were struck out, alleged that Kanu had through his broadcasts, incited members of the public to not only stage a violent revolution, but to attack police officers and also destroy public facilities in Lagos State.

While the court threw out counts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12,13, and 14 of the charge, it okayed Kanu’s trial on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 15.

The ruling followed an application Kanu filed to quash the entire charge against him, which he insisted was manifestly incompetent and legally defective.

The IPOB leader, through his team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), argued that the court lacked the jurisdiction to try him on the strength of an incompetent charge.

Ozekhome (SAN), further told the court that his client was “unlawfully, brutally and extraordinarily renditioned from Kenya without his consent”.

He argued that since some of the allegations FG leveled against Kanu, were purportedly committed outside the country, the high court, therefore, lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charge.

“The charges appear to give this court a global jurisdiction over offenses that were allegedly committed by the Defendant, without specifying the location or date the said offenses were committed”.

He argued that under the Federal High Court Act, such a charge must disclose the specific location where the offense was committed.

More so, Ozekhome contended that Kanu could not be charged with belonging to an unlawful organization since the action of FG, in proscribing the IPOB, is still subject to legal dispute at the Court of Appeal and therefore subjudice.

Consequently, he urged the court to dismiss the charge, as well as to discharge and acquit the defendant.

However, FG’s lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, opposed the application and urged the court to allow the prosecution to open its case.

He argued that Kanu’s application would touch the substance of the case that is yet to be heard.

“The position as of now is that the IPOB is a proscribed organization which was duly proscribed through the due process of law”.

He argued that Section 32 of the Terrorism Prevention Act imbued the court with the requisite jurisdiction to handle the trial.

On Kanu’s bail request, Ozekhome maintained that the amended charge contained bailable offenses, while FG’s lawyer, Labaran, argued that the defendant betrayed the previous discretion the court exercised in his favor when he jumped bail and escaped from the country.

He argued that it was owing to Kanu’s conduct that the court revoked his bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

FG had in some of the charges that were sustained by the court, alleged that Kanu had in his broadcast that was received and heard in Nigeria, issued a deadly threat that anyone who flouted his sit-at-home order, should write his/her Will.

It told the court that as a result of the threat, Banks, Schools, Markets, Shopping Malls, and Fuel Stations domiciled in the Eastern States of Nigeria, were not opened for businesses, citizens, and vehicular movements in the Eastern States of Nigeria were grounded.

It alleged that Kau had on diverse dates between 2018 and 2021, made a broadcast received and heard in Nigeria, inviting members of the public to hunt and kill Nigerian security personnel and their family members, thereby committing an offense punishable under Section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.

While FG, in count-8, alleged that Kanu, directed members of the IPOB “to manufacture Bombs”, it told the court in count-15 that the defendant had between the month of March and April 2015, “Imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, a Radio Transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items which you declared as used household items, and you thereby committed an offense contrary to section 47 (2) (a) of Criminal Code Act Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.

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Ekweremadu Narrates How David, “Kidney Donor” Refused To Return To Nigeria

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The former deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has explained that David Ukpo Nwamini, the would-be kidney donor of his daughter, Sonia refused to return to Nigeria after it was discovered that his kidney was not compatible with his daughter’s.

The Enugu-born federal lawmaker gave the details in a suit filed along with his wife, Beatrice, against the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) over the controversy surrounding the real age of Nwamini.

Ike Ekweremadu and his wife were recently arrested for allegedly bringing a minor to the UK to harvest his organ. They were subsequently remanded in custody till July 7.

However, Ekweremadu had written to the UK high commission to support the visa application of a “kidney donor” for his daughter Sonia.

Although the UK police said the donor was 15, he was listed as 21 years old on his international passport and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) portal.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022 and filed on June 27 by Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel to the senator and his wife, before Inyang Ekwo, justice of a federal high court in Abuja, the Ekweremadus prayed the court for an order directing the NIMC to supply them with the certified true copy (CTC) of Ukpo’s biodata, The Cable reported.

They also sought an order directing the NIS comptroller-general to supply the applicants with Ukpo’s documents and application form presented for the issuance of his international passport.

The suit is also seeking an order directing Stanbic IBTC Bank and UBA to supply the applicants with the certified true copy of the “mandate card and account opening package of Ukpo’s bank accounts”.

Awomolo, who gave 20 grounds why the prayers should be granted, said Ukpo offered to donate one of his kidneys to the daughter of the applicants if his kidney was compatible.

He said Ukpo informed the applicants that he was 21 years old, after which Ekweremadu supported his visa application to the United Kingdom with a letter to the British high commission in Nigeria, explaining the purpose of the visit.

“After conducting various medical tests, the Royal Free Hospital in London decided that the said David Nwamini Ukpo was not a suitable donor because his kidney is not compatible with that of Sonia Ekweremadu,” he said.

According to Awomolo, Ukpo was then asked to return to Nigeria but rather than do so, he approached the authorities in the UK, claiming he was 15 years old.

“The applicants require documents from the respondents to assist in the fair criminal investigation and as facts in their defense to establish their innocence of the allegation in the charge and to prove that David Nwamini Ukpo is not a minor and indeed consented to the medical examination in the United Kingdom,” he said.

Ekwo fixed July 1 for a hearing of the matter.

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JUST IN: Court Dismisses Kanu’s Application For Revocation Of Bail

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The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed an application by Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), seeking an order discharging the earlier order revoking his bail.

Justice Binta Nyako in her ruling on Tuesday ruled that Kanu has not provided sufficient reasons to warrant the court to set aside its order.

She accordingly dismissed the application for being an abuse of the court process.

In the dismissed application which was filed by his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Kanu also prayed for an order setting aside the order made on March 28, 2019, directing for his arrest and continuation of his trial in absentia.

Justice Nyako had, on March 28, 2019, revoked the bail Kanu, ordered his arrest, and directed that his trial should continue in his absence.

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CJN Resignation: Public Confidence In Judiciary System At All-Time Low – Olumide Akpata

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Olumide Akpata, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has reacted to the resignation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as CJN, saying public confidence in the judiciary is currently at “an all-time low”.

In the statement, Akpata thanked the retired CJN for his service to the nation and prayed for his quick recovery.

“In the course of previous publications and communications, I have consistently appreciated the outgone chief justice of Nigeria for the cordial working relationship between the bar and the bench under our respective administrations. I must do so again today as he bows out,” the statement read.

“It is however impossible, to consider his lordship’s retirement in isolation of the recent unprecedented developments at the supreme court where 14 justices of the court censured the outgone chief justice of Nigeria over his lordship’s handling of their welfare and related issues.

“Beyond this, there is near-universal agreement that public confidence in the judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low.”

The NBA chairman added that “there is now more than ever the need for urgent reforms in the judiciary and to rebuild the almost dissipated confidence that Nigerians have in the judiciary and the wider legal profession in Nigeria”.

“These should form the immediate first tasks for honorable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who is expected to now take over as the acting chief justice of Nigeria,” he said.

“The NBA welcomes the appointment of honorable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and pledges its readiness to work together with his lordship and the judiciary in cleansing the Augean Stable and addressing the ills that have continued to plague not just the Judiciary but the entire legal profession.”

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