Pro-Biafra Leader Refuses To Take Plea In Court

Nnamdi KanuThe leader of a pro-Biafra group in Nigeria, Ingenious People Of Biafra (IPOB), Mr Nnamdi Kanu, has refused to take plea in court, protesting his trial before Justice Mohammed Ahmed of a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Kanu, who is the founder of a pirate radio, Radio Biafra, refused to take plea on a six-count charge bordering on treason, importation of illegal goods and possession of fire arms filed against him by the Department of State Services (DSS) on the ground that he would not get fair trial.

Lack Of Confidence In The process

The pro-Biafra leader, standing trial with two others, told the court that he lacked confidence in the court because information available to him indicated that he would not get a fair trial.

“I will not sacrifice due process of the law founded on the principles of natural justice on the altar of speedy release from detention,” Mr Kanu said.

A week after a Federal High Court granted him bail, Mr Kanu, the leader of the IPOB, who remains in the custody of the DSS, was brought to court.

Shortly after his arrival, Mr Kanu and his co-accused were docked, but his trial could not commence, as he protested his arraignment before Justice Ahmed, opting to remain in detention, even after a court had earlier granted him bail.

Reacting to Mr Kanu’s protest the Director of Public Prosecution Mr Mohammed Diri, asked the court to discountenance the objection on the ground that the accused person ought to come before the court with a proper application.

He argued that such a protest could only be made after an accused person had taken his plea.

In a short ruling, Justice Ahmed agreed with the accused person’s protest, especially as it borders on the issue of confidence in a judicial process.

Justice Mohammed said that since the confidence of the court had been questioned he would return the case file to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for further action.

Shortly after the proceedings, however, Mr Kanu got into an altercation with some officials of the DSS for denying him an opportunity to speak with his lawyer.

Counsel to Mr Kanu, Mr Vincent Obetta hinted that he would continue to pursue the release of his client on the orders of the court.

He had on Tuesday decried the continued detention of his client by the DSS even after a Federal High Court had granted him bail.

For now Mr Kanu and other accused persons will have to wait for the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to reassign his case to another Judge.

Nnamdi Kanu’s Lawyer Asks DSS To Obey Court Order

Nnamdi KanuThe lawyer to the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu, has asked the Department of State Services (DSS) to obey the order of the court that released him on bail unconditionally.

Reacting to a six-count charge preferred against his client, Mr Vincent Obetta said that the charges, notwithstanding, the orders of the court still subsists and should be carried out to the letter.

According to him, the charges are still being studied even as they continue to work towards the release of his client who is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

Mr Kanu was standing trial on a three count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to an unlawful society, allegations the prosecutor had withdrawn.

A Federal High Court in Abuja on December 17 granted bail to Mr Kanu.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola admitted him to bail unconditionally while ruling in an application filed and argued by Mr Obetta.

The court held that his continuous detention was illegal and as such he should be released on bail unconditionally, especially in the light of the deposition of the counsel to the DSS that it had no charge against Mr Kanu in any Court of Competent Jurisdiction in Nigeria.

 

Three Feared Dead In Soldiers-Pro-Biafra Fracas

MASSOB IPOB Demonstrate for BiafraThree people suspected to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are said to have been killed and two others including a soldier seriously wounded when a scuffle broke out between the soldiers and the Pro-Biafra group on Friday.

The fracas occurred at the Bridge Head axis of Onitsha in Anambra State when the group members poured out in their hundreds at the bridge in jubilation over the release of their leader, Mr Nnamdi Kanu.

According to the Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Ali Okechukwu, based on information gathered from the army, at about 1:30 pm, the IPOB members surged to the Bridge Head in their hundreds to celebrate the release of their leader and in the process blockade the bridge.

In a bid to prevent the seizure of the Bridge Head, soldiers manning the area tried to stop them and the group allegedly attacked them, forcefully trying to disarm one of the soldiers, the police official said.

He further explained that in the process, the leader of the military squad, one Captain Umar, attached to the 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha was injured.

In the scuffle that followed, three suspected members of the group were killed.

Another member of the group and the Captain, who were wounded, are presently receiving treatment at the Military Hospital, Onitsha.

According to the police, a preliminary investigation is ongoing by the army and the outcome would be communicated to the police.

Conflicting Death Figures Trail Pro-Biafra Police Clash

Biafra-protestersConflicting death toll trails the violence that erupted after pro-Biafra protesters clashed with security operatives at the bridge head axis of Onitsha, Anambra State.

Some accounts say between nine and thirteen people died in the protest, the Nigerian police say only one person, a policeman lost his life in the clash.

Other accounts allege that the JTF comprising the Army, Navy, Police and Civil Defence troops opened fire at protesting members of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, (IPOB), and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, (MASSOB) which killed about nine people and injured 18.

Traffic flow has however resumed after over twelve hours gridlock occasioned by agitating members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB).

 

Normalcy Returns To Anambra As Pro-Biafra Protesters Leave Scene

Biafra-protestersThe pro-Biafra protesters who blocked the Onitsha end of the Niger Bridge in Anambra State have left the scene.

According to our reporter, some level of normalcy is returning as the road is now open.

The protesters numbering over 100 took over the entire road for over ten hours forcing travellers and motorists to remain on one spot.

According to an eyewitness, the protesters who were agitating for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, have shown no sign of ending the siege.

Earlier on Tuesday, some pro-Biafra protesters, seeking the actualisation of the nation of Biafra, blocked the Onitsha-Owerri expressway in eastern Nigeria, truncating business activities in one of the nation’s major commercial cities, Onitsha.

According to an eyewitness, the protesters, who were agitating for the release of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu, showed no sign of ending the siege which lasted for more than six hours, leaving commuters and motorists stranded.

Mr Kanu is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation belonging to an unlawful society which he has pleaded not guilty to.

His trial on Tuesday was stalled due to the absence of the judge.

Military Warns Pro-Biafra Protesters

Biafra The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, on Thursday, read the riot act to those calling for the exit of Nigeria’s south-east and parts of the south-south to form an independent nation of Biafra; an indication that the Nigerian military appears to be losing its cool with young pro-Biafra agitators.

Relying on the military Rule of Engagement for internal security operations, Abubakar warned that the armed forces is empowered by the constitution to suppress what he described as insurrection or civil disobedience.

He added that the military has the responsibility to restore order when called upon to do so by the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.

The implication of this, according to him, is that troops have to use necessary force to quell crisis of this sort.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the military’s Rule of Engagement sets out the circumstances and limitations under which the military can enforce laws under situations of unrest, agitations and civil disobedience,” he said.

Air Marshal Abubakar added that should the military be provoked, it will definitely protect the sovereignty of the country, warning the Biafran agitators to stay advised.

The Nigerian Army has also cautioned citizens in the country against attempts seeking the disintegration of Nigeria.

The acting Director of Army Public Relations, Colonel Sani Usman, while addressing newsmen in Damaturu in company of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, also reminded Nigerians of the Rule of Engagement for internal security operations.

General Buratai was in the Yobe State capital as part of efforts aimed at subduing the dreaded Boko Haram sect in Nigeria’s north-east region.

Gowon Dismisses Potential Biafran Threat

GowonMeanwhile, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, has dismissed any potential threat to Nigeria’s unity as a result of the activities of some pro-Biafra group.

General Gowon, who noted that Nigerians have put behind them the ugly memories of the 1967 civil war, pointed out that those behind the protests were youths who have no idea what the war cost Nigerians.

The elder statesman was speaking in Lafia, the Nasarwa State capital shortly after a malaria eradication campaign visit to Governor Tanko Al-Makura.

He expressed confidence that the campaign was being driven by just a few people and that majority of the Igbo people do not share the view.

While admitting that they protesters had the right to express their feelings he stated “with Biafra it is finished”.