Four IPOB Members Re-arraigned on Amended 3-count Charge, Without Kanu

Four members of the now proscribed the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) co-accused with Nnamdi Kanu on terrorism charges, were re-arraigned, Tuesday, on amended three count charge.
The defendants were Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi
Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court in Abuja, had on February 20 gave the Federal Government the nod to sever charges against Kanu from that of his co-defendants.
Kanu whose whereabouts has remained unknown since September last year, was hitherto facing a five-count treasonable felony charge alongside four other pro-Biafra agitators.
The separation order was sequel to an application brought by prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran.
The counsel had at the resumed trial sought the guidance of the court as regards further proceedings of the trial taken into consideration the presence of only three of the defendants in court.t
Labaran told the court that the absence of the 1st defendant (Kanu) having granted him bail since April last year has frustrated progress in the case.
“We shall be asking for the indulgence of the court to separate the charges so that progress can be made in the matter,” he pleaded
Ruling on the application, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, agreed with the prosecution that Kanu’s absence since when he was granted bail last year had actually stalled trial of the case and consequently ordered that the trial of Kanu be separated from the rest.
The defendants were specifically accused of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and running an organisation craving to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria
On the second charge, Chimezie was accused of improper importation of goods., noting he with Kanu imported into Nigeria a radio transmitter, which was declared at the point of entry into the country as house used items.
Onwudiwe was said, on count count three, to have found to be Illegally in possession of firearms.The firearms, which include pump action gun, Delta action gun and cartridges of ammunition were recovered in Oct 2015 in a house in Anambra State.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges
Earlier, Igwe had Informed the court of an application he filed which the prosecution abandoned.
Rather, according to him, it brought another application.
He said the instant application was filed out of time, adding it was filed about four days ago and served on him in court Tuesday’s morning.
He asked the court to reject it because it was a worthless piece of paper in the eyes of the law.” It is a ploy to frustrate the trial and the prosecution is not serious about prosecuting the matter.”
Igwe said his client was discharged by a Port Harcourt High Court and awarded a N5m damages, but rather than releasing him, he was brought to Abuja and arraigned again. Based on that, he asked the court to grant his client bail
But the Judge told him to allow the defendant to first take his plea before going into the crux of the matter.
Igwe also made an oral application for transfer of his client from the DSS custody to Kuje Prisons. He said he has not met him prior to his arraignment, Tuesday, which the Judge obliged
Second defendant’s counsel, Maxwell Okpara craved for indulgence of the court for a short adjournment to allow him study the application because it was only served on him in court .
P. Ejiofor, who is counsel to the third defendant totally opposed the application, which he said was a clear violation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
He said: “If application is file out of time, counsel ought to ask for leave of the court to introduce it. There is nothing before this court that it was done. It is a ploy to make the defendants to remain perpetually in prison. I urge my lord to grant my client bail. The ploy is to ask for adjournment. In view of this unnecessary delay coming from the prosecution, my client should be granted bail.”, he said
Ejiofor complained that the prison authorities had refused the obey order of the court but Justice Nyako told him to filed a contempt charge against them, rather than telling the court
The matter was adjourned till Thursday for commencement of trial.

Author: News Editor

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