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Court to rule in Kanu’s motion challenging FG’s terrorism charge April 8



Court to rule in Kanu’s motion challenging FG’s terrorism charge April 8

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, fixed April 8 for ruling in a motion filed by the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu is challenging the charge preferred against him by the Federal Government.

Justice Binta Nyako fixed the date after counsel for the prosecution and the defendant adopted their arguments for and against Kanu’s preliminary objection.

The newsmen report that Kanu is standing trial on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

When the matter was called, counsel to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Shuaibu Labaran, informed that the court adjourned to take two motions filed by Kanu.

He said while the first motion asked the court to strike out the charge against him, the second application sought an order of the court for bail.

“We have filed respective counters and are ready for the business of the day,” he said.

Counsel to the defendant (Kanu), Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, said he had a notice of preliminary objection dated Jan. 18 and filed Jan. 19.

“It is praying for an order striking out the 15-count amended charge for being incompetent and consequently depriving the jurisdictions of this court to entertain the entire charge,” he said.

Ozekhome pleaded with the court to discharge and acquit Kanu of all the counts.

He said the application had 34 grounds and was supported by 36-paragraph affidavit.

“We have a written address attached and further affidavit in reply on points of law,” he said.

In response, Labaran said he was yet to be served with the further affidavit, and a copy of the application was made available to him.

Ozekhome, while adopting all the processes filed, asked the court to quash and strike out the 15 counts against his client.

Adumbrating, the senior lawyer argued that the entire charge did not disclose any case of prima facie against Kanu.

He said the Federal Government had not disclosed any reasonable cause of action against the defendant, citing some paragraphs in the preliminary objection.

According to him, the defendant was unlawfully and brutally extraordinarily renditioned without recourse to the international law on extradition.

He also argued that the charge preferred against Kanu appeared to give the court a global location.

He said the charge did not state specifically the location where the alleged offence was committed contrary to the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015, arguing that the court lacked the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Ozekhome said though the prosecution alleged that Kanu made an inciting broadcast,  the location where the offence was committed was not stated.

He said the prosecution was still using proof of evidence used in 2015 against the defendant.

On the allegation that Kanu was an IPOB member, the lawyer said the proscription matter was still being challenged at the Court of Appeal, and that the court was yet to decide on it.

“They are charging the defendant under a law whose conclusiveness has not to be concluded under the law,” he said

He said paragraphs seven to 19 of the prosecution’s counter-affidavit offended the Evidence Act.

According to him, the charge did not state where the act of terrorism was committed.

“The counts did not disclose any prima facie to call the defendant to defend himself

“I urge my lord to look at it very calmly! there is nothing in the charge,” he said.

Labaran, on his part, disagreed with Ozekhome.

He said after they were served with the defendant’s preliminary objection, his office filed a 20-paragraph counter-affidavit dated Feb. 2 and filed Feb. 3.

He said the application was supported by a written address in compliance with court rules.

According to him, the defendant’s application lacks the substance that will warrant this court granting the prayers.

“We urge my lord to refuse this application and direct the prosecution to open its case in accordance with the spirit of Practice Direction issued by the chief judge of this court called, ‘Federal High Court Criminal Direction,’” he said.

Labaran argued that Kanu had no affidavit before the court “because the paragraphs in the application have offended Section 115 of the Evidence Act and should be expunged.”

On the prescription order, the lawyer argued that not even an application for a stay of proceeding was filed in any way that could have affected the proceedings in the case, citing Section 306 of ACJA, 2015.

“The position as at today is that IPOB is a proscribed association by the principle of our elementary law and it was duly proscribed under the relevant law,” he said.

Disagreeing with Ozekhome on the argument that the court lacked jurisdiction to hear the matter, Labaran said Section 32 of Terrorism Prevention Act stated that the Federal High Court has jurisdiction to hear a matter anywhere in the country.

“Therefore, this court has jurisdiction to entertain the case,” he said.

He said going by Section 94 of ACJA, and contrary to the defence submission that the charge did not state the location where the offence was committed, he said: “The entire law is very clear.”

“If the offence is committed at sea or outside Nigeria, this court has jurisdiction to hear it,” he insisted.

He argued that as to the alleged erroneous nature of the charge, Section 216 of ACJA had adequately taken care of that.

“This is applicable to all the charges, particularly count 15,” he added.

The lawyer, who referred the court to Section 216(4) of ACJA, read a part of the section, saying: “This is the position of the law and therefore, the charge has the full force of the law.”

According to him, Section 396 of ACJA also reinforced this.

He said the application lacked merit, urging the court to dismiss it.

Labaran said the further affidavit filed by Kanu was not ripe to be taken.

“This is early to my knowledge. This should happen when fresh facts are raised which will warrant this,” he said.

The prosecution, who urged the court to dismiss Kanu’s preliminary objection, said the trial has commenced for over five years.

Ozekhome, in response, said the prosecution did not deny their counter affidavit or provide any response to it, but that they only gave a general denial to all the averments.

Justice Nyako, who said the ruling on Kanu’s preliminary objection would take priority over other applications before the court, fixed April 8 for its ruling.

Earlier at the resumed hearing, Ozekhome had complained that despite the order of the court, the Department of State Services (DSS) refused to allow his client to change clothes.

He said the DSS had claimed that Kanu refused to change because he was pleased with the designer wears he put on.

The senior lawyer said Kanu’s younger brother and his lawyer visited the DSS facility about three times to give him another outfit but personnel refused.

“Ejiofor (one of the lawyers) had to call the director of Legal Services, sitting here, and he said he would contact the Director of Operations to ensure that the order was carried out but to date, nothing has happened,” he said.

He also told the court that in 2015 when Kanu was arrested, his reading glasses were seized from him and that it was still with the security outfit.

Ozekhome said even the eye glasses his client used when he was recently arrested abroad had been broken.

“And now, he has nothing to read,” he said, adding that he did not want him to become blind as a result of the development.

Justice Nyako then asked the director of Legal Services of the DSS on why the office denied Kanu of changing his outfit.

Responding, he said the family brought clothe with lion’s heart which could not be allowed by the service “because it offends the standard operating procedure.”

The judge then asked Kanu which clothe he would love to wear.

“I want to wear the clothe of my people which is called ‘Isi Agu,’” he responded.

When the judge asked him why he liked to wear the particular attire, Kanu said: “But I don’t know why I should not wear it?”

“Because I said so,” the judge responded

Nyako then reminded Kanu that few years ago when the matter began, she gave him the freedom to wear any attire of his choice to the court.

When the judge asked if he just did not want to change his appearance, Kanu said: “I want to change but because they refused.”

Nyako, however, decline Kanu’s request to wear the traditional attire to court, advising that he should be given another clothe on the next adjourned date.

On the issue of his eye glasses, the DSS officer said they couldn’t locate where it is.

The judge, therefore, directed the security agency to make provision for another eye glasses for Kanu.

“By next adjournment, let him come in glasses,” she held.


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EFCC, ICPC to respond in Keyamo’s suit against Atiku Abubakar 



EFCC, ICPC to respond in Keyamo’s suit against Atiku Abubakar 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, indicated its intention to respond in a suit filed by Festus Keyamo against Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Feb. 25 poll.

This was also as Oluwakemi Odogun, lawyer to the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), told Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, Abuja of the commission’s plan to file its response in the case.

 Keyamo, a spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), had instituted the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/84/2023 against Abubakar over allegations bordering on money laundering.

Also joined as defendants in the suit include the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), ICPC and the EFCC as 2nd to 4th defendants respectively.

Keyamo had earlier asked law enforcement agencies to arrest Abubakar based on an audio recording released by Michael Achimugu, his former aide.

In the audio, the former vice-president was alleged to have explained how shell organisations were set up to divert public funds.

 Justice Omotosho had, on March 7, threatened to strike out the suit over Keyamo’s inability to diligently prosecute the case.

Upon resumed hearing, Keyamo’s counsel, Okechukwu Uju-azorji, informed that the matter was slated for hearing.

Uju-azorji said that the former vice president, the 1st defendant, served on him a preliminary objection and that they had responded.

The lawyer said Abubakar, however, was not represented in court today to take his application.

He prayed the court for an adjournment to enable the 1st defendant take his objection.

Counsel to the EFCC, Senami Adeosun,, who also prayed the court for a short time to enable them file their process in the suit, said they were still within time to respond.

Odogun, who represented ICPC, spoke in the same vein.

“We were served on March 15 with the originating processes. We sought an adjournment since we are within time to file,” she said.

The judge adjourned the matter until April 18 for hearing of the pending preliminary objection.

Omotosho, who ordered that hearing notices be issued to Abubakar and CCB, that were not represented in court, directed that parties interested in filing any application should do so before the next adjourned date.

In a preliminary objection filed by Abubakar’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, the ex-vice president sought an order striking out or dismissing the suit for being incompetent and want of locus standi.

The lawyer, who argued that the suit be dismissed for want of jurisdiction, said the case failed to disclose a reasonable cause of action against his client.

But Keyamo, in a counter affidavit deposed to by Henry Offiah, a litigation clerk in his chamber, averred that the CCB, ICPC and EFCC failed to respond to the allegations he raised against Abubakar and indeed failed to take any steps to invite or arrest him for the purpose of investigating the allegations against him.

He said on Jan. 16, he wrote a petition to the three agencies requesting them to invite the former vice president for the purpose of conducting investigations into the said allegations.

 He said that they refused to commence any form of investigation with respect to the allegations leveled against him

Keyamo said he was aggrieved and instituted the present action on Jan. 20.

“The allegations made against the 1st defendant (Abubakar) are the subject matter of the investigation sought by the plaintiff and the plaintiff seeks reliefs against the 1st defendant,” the document read.

He said it was in the interest of justice for the court to dismiss Abubakar’s preliminary objection.

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Keyamo Petitions SSS, Demands Arrest of Obi, Baba-Ahmed for Inciting Comments



Keyamo Petitions SSS, Demands Arrest of Obi, Baba-Ahmed for Inciting Comments

Mr. Festus Keyamo has petitioned the State Security Services (SSS), demanding the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed for making incendiary comments on television.

Keyamo Minister of State for Labour and Employment and also a spokesman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) made copies of the petition available to newsmen on Thursday in Abuja.

He described comments made on television by Obi and Baba-Ahmed, presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively of the Labour Party (LP) at the Feb. 25 election as incendiary and capable of causing rebellion.

In the petition dated March 23, Keyamo noted that: “in a post-election period such as this, there is the need to soothe frayed nerves.’’

He noted that whilst exercising their rights to pursue constitutional means of addressing their grievances, the duo had been going from one television station to the other to make inciting statements.

He stated that the latest of such were comments made by Baba-Ahmed on behalf of himself and Obi on a television station on Wednesday.

He added that the LP’s vice-presidential candidate threatened on television that if the president-elect was sworn in on May 29, it would signal the end of democracy in Nigeria.

“Posing as an accuser, a judge and a jury all by himself, he unilaterally declared the return of the president-elect by INEC as unconstitutional.

“I also have it on good authority that Obi and Baba-Ahmed have camped some youths in a hotel in Abuja for posting inciting messages on social media platforms on daily basis.

“The posts are such that could cause panic and fear within the federation and incite people to riot and cause social unrest,’’ Keyamo stated in his petition.

He noted that while Obi and Baba-Ahmed had submitted election petitions to the courts for adjudication, their conduct and utterances amounted to a subversion of the processes they had instituted in court.

He added that their action was also a subversion of the Constitution and the laid-down processes for addressing disputes and grievances.

“These conducts and utterances are a build-up to something more sinister and it is important you rein them in now.

“These comments and claims are made not just within the boundaries of exercising their rights to freedom of speech but have crossed the line to call for the outright truncation of democracy.

“They have been insisting on the adoption of other processes outside the contemplation of our Constitution.

“In some cases, their privies have even called for the establishment of an Interim Government.

“I submit this petition in my personal capacity as a patriotic Nigerian to invite, arrest, interrogate and if necessary charge both individuals to court for their conducts which amount to incitement and treasonable felony,’’ Keyamo stated.

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Ohaneze urges FG to intervene in ethnic profiling of Igbos



Ohaneze urges FG to intervene in ethnic profiling of Igbos

The Apex Igbo Socio-cultural organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide has urged Federal Government to intervene in what it described as “ethnic profiling of the Igbo in Lagos State” since the 2023 election began.

The group also wanted the Federal Government to look into the attendant hardship that Igbo people had been subjected to with a view to averting the impending tragedy.

This is contained in a statement by the National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Dr. Alex Ogbonnia in Enugu on Monday, titled “What have Igbos done”.

According to him, there is need to end atrocities against the Igbos in Lagos State before it degenerates into other untold consequences.

“We, therefore, call on the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Inspector-General of Police, the Director of DSS, the Governor of Lagos State, as well as Bola Tinubu and others to wade into this ethnic profiling of the Igbo in Lagos.

“Ohanaeze wants to let the world know that Ndigbo has paid the ultimate prize for the unity of Nigeria,” he said.

Ogbonnia added that in spite of the harrowing experiences the Southeast endured during the civil war, the Igbos had embraced Nigeria with great enthusiasm, open-mindedness, hospitality, entrepreneurship, creativity and patriotism.

“The question on every lip is what have the Igbo done?” he asked.

Ohanaeze wondered why in every election, Igbos in Lagos would be a target of attack by both the traditional institutions and government agencies while the “federal government would complicity watch and sanctimoniously preach that the unity of Nigeria is indivisible and indissoluble.

“It is once more pointed out that Lagos was the capital of Nigeria at the Nigerian Independence in 1960; just like Abuja is today the capital of Nigeria.

“It is of course highly inconceivable for a particular ethnic group to be excluded from the social, economic and political activities in the federal capital territory of any country or in any part of the country for that matter.

“Instead of commendations and plaudits for the invaluable contributions of the Igbo in Lagos State, some miscreants have taken barbarism to the extreme by killing and maiming the Igbo because they came out to vote in a democratic election,”.

According to him, Ohanaeze Ndigbo does not want to view the Yoruba ethnicity through the narrow lens orchestrated by the illegals, miscreants, hoodlums and the jaundiced half-Yoruba who had met culture and civilization halfway.

“This is because, Ohanaeze cannot forget the likes of Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the Afenifere and indeed all those eminent Yoruba that stood on the side of justice, equity and history by supporting Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party for the presidency of Nigeria in 2023.

“Neither are we unaware of the numerous Igbo sons and daughters whose spouses are from the Yoruba ethnic group,” he noted.

The group pointed out that all the highly placed persons, such as Bayo Onanugas who had championed threats, maiming and killings of the Igbo in Lagos had never been brought to book as a deterrent to other unrepentant ethnic chauvinists.

He described Ndigbo as “essentially republican and cosmopolitan in nature” with a very open society that admitted competence far and above ethnic sentiments.

“In the First Republic, a Fulani man was elected the Mayor of Enugu.

“In last Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections, a Yoruba man, Chinasa Abiola was elected as a member of Abia State House of Assembly to represent Umuahia South State Constituency,” Ogbonnia added.

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