EIGHT out of the 15 charges preferred against the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu by the Nigerian government have been struck out.
The charges, which includes counts 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 were struck out by the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday.
The judge ruled that the IPOB leader will now stand trial on counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 15.
Kanu’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, had asked the court in a 36-paragraph affidavit to quash the entire charges for being defective and baseless.
He argued that the court lacks the jurisdiction to entertain the charges brought against his client by the prosecuting team.
“We are praying for an order striking out, quashing and dismissing the amended 15-count charge for being incompetent,” he said.
Ozekhome also prayed for “An order discharging and acquitting the defendant of the charges where same has been dismissed by the court”.
According to him, looking at the criteria of the entire charge, it did not disclose any prima facie evidence.
He said, “You are accusing Kanu of making some broadcast. You didn’t say where these broadcasts were made.”
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said his client was unlawfully renditioned from Kenya in violation of international protocol on extradition.
However, counsel to the Federal Government, S.M Labaran, urged the court to dismiss Kanu’s application and order him to open his case.
“The application lacks substance. We therefore, urge your Lordship to gracefully refuse this application and direct the prosecution to open its case in accordance with the practice of the Federal High Court.”
Labaran argued that the court had jurisdiction to hear the matter going by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).
“With respect to jurisdiction, Section 32 of the Terrorism Act states that the FHC has jurisdiction to try offences anywhere it is committed,” he said.
In her ruling, Justice Nyako held that in the instant preliminary objection application, counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 have not disclosed any offence by the defendant.
She acknowledged that counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, and 15 showed some allegations against the IPOB leader. She ruled that Kanu’s trial would proceed on the counts.
On rendition, the judge ruled that there was already a bench warrant on the defendant, noting that he was a fugitive before the court.
The court also noted that the proscription of IPOB was still a matter pending before the appeal court and as such, the order proscribing the organisation was subsisting until it was vacated.