At Last, Trial of IPOB Members Begins

After a long delay in the take off of the trial of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), accused of various charges, which include treasonable felony, gun running, illegal importation and preaching to secede from Nigeria, the trial of four members of the proscribed organisation, kicked off Thursday, at a Federal High Court, Abuja.
The four members on trial are Bright Chimeze, Benjamin Madubugwu, Chidiebere Onwudiwe and David Nwawuisi.
They are standing trial on a three count amended charges, after the charges were severed from ones that included now at large leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu.
The Federal Government had initially arraigned them alongside Kanu on a six count charge.
However, on Thursday, the prosecution called its first witness, who was shielded from the galaxy, simply referred to as Mr. A. B.
The first prosecution witness, who is an investigation officer with the Department of State Security Service (SSS), said that although he can identify only Bright Chimezie (1st defendant) and Chidiebere Onwudiwe(2nd defendant), he has nothing to say about the 2nd defendant.
The witness who said he has worked with the SSS for over six years, disclosed that in the cause of their investigation, it was discovered that Chimezie is a member of IPOB.
He said that investigations showed that Chimezie was the person that took the delivery of the container that contains the transmitter belonging to IPOB, on the instructions of Nnamdi Kanu from Lagos to Benjamin Madubugwu (3rd defendant) compound in Ubuluisiuzo Ihiala Local Government Area, Anambra State .
Further in his testimony, the witness revealed that the 1st defendant before his arrest, was the welfare officer of IPOB who had severally collected money from the group’s sponsors outside the country, adding that the fund is partly used for the welfare of widows of slained IPOB members.
Under cross examination by Chukwudi Igwe, counsel to the 1st defendant, the witness revealed that he had no idea that the defendant made statement at one SSS office in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, where he was arrested.
He further stated that he didn’t visit Uyo for further investigation after his statement at the Headquarters in Abuja, adding that he didn’t extend investigation to the Wharf in Lagos.
He said: “I did not extend my investigation to the Wharf where the container he took delivery of landed so, I wouldn’t know wether the container was cleared in the Wharf or smuggled in.
“I didn’t investigate whether the 1st defendant’s name was in the Bill of Lading.
Igwe sought the leave of court to allow the witness read the statement in court and Justice Nyako granted him.
According to the statement, the defendant was arrested on 14 September, 2016, where he went to take up a job in Uyo.
The statement read that the defendant didn’t know the contents of the container until Nnamdi Kanu came back and the container opened.
Also, the Defendant stated that he received N1.5m from sponsors from a Sky Bank branch at Apapa area, Lagos, account,
between July to August 2016 which he disbursed to the beneficiaries.
Still under cross examination, by the counsel to the 2nd defendant, P. A. Ejiofor, the witness who described himself as a well trained investigator for over four years said, “I did not counter sign the statement of the defendant,” adding that he was not aware that he was granted bail by a Federal High Court in Uyo, who declared his detention illegal.
Justice Nyako adjourned to March 28 for hearing of bail application of the first defendant while the trial continues on May 21.

Author: News Editor

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