Legal counsel to Nnamdi Kanu, the embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Barr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor has condemned the new charge against his client describing it as the worst abuse of any legal process.
Naija News reports that President Muhammadu Buhari-led government had earlier filed an amended 15 count charge on the Biafra agitator, hours to the further hearing of his initial trials.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), in the amended application, filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, increased the counts from seven to 15.
The amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015 which was signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), M. B. Abubakar, accused Kanu of committing an act of Terrorism against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and its citizens by making a broadcast with intent to intimidate the population.
The charge also accused the Biafran agitator of importing into Nigeria in 2015 a Radio Transmitter known as Tram 50L.
It alleged that Kanu had concealed the radio in a container and had claimed it was a household item. The charge mentioned that Kanu by this has committed an “offence contrary to section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act, Cap, C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
However, after visiting the IPOB leader in DSS detention, Ejiofor described the fresh 15 count charge as the worst abuse ever of the court process and a joke taken too far.
He said: “Today, we were served with a 15-Count Amended Charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation in respect of a case already scheduled tomorrow, for the hearing of our Preliminary objection challenging the competence of the 7-Count Amended Charge.
“This is indeed a joke taken too far as the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) is now scouting for an opportunity to truncate tomorrow’s proceeding, knowing fully well that the smokescreen charge is dead on arrival.
“We wish to categorically point out with dismay, that this further Amended Charge is the WORST kind of abuse of legal process that we have encountered in the history of legal practice – either in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.”
The IPOB leader legal counsel stressed that the fresh charges against Kanu was no doubt brought in bad faith and is aimed at needlessly prolonging proceedings in the cause.
He accused the federal government of Nigeria of intentionally initiating a process that will delay the agitator’s court trial.
Ejiofor added: “It is worthy to note that an Amended 7-Count Charge had earlier been filed against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu since October 2021, pursuant to which a preliminary objection was raised against this 7-Count Amended Charge. The parties have fully filed and exchanged processes and arguments on the objection, and the same has been set down for hearing.
“Brazenly, a day before the hearing date, and without affording the court the opportunity to listen to arguments on the objection, and take a decision on the objection raised one way or the other, the prosecution, in utter bad faith, filed a further Amended Charge to supersede and supplant the earlier Amended Charge on which issues have been joined on the objection raised against it. This is indeed, the worst kind of abuse of the court process.
“Although the prosecution has the liberty to amend a charge, it cannot exercise that prerogative to abuse the process of the court, or to supplant an objection that has been raised against an earlier amendment, which has not been decided on, or to overreach the defence, or to render nugatory or as a fait accompli, the decision of the court on a pending preliminary objection against an Amended Charge that is yet to be determined.
“Nevertheless, we herein assure UmuChineke that we have already devised a solution to every of their antics, it will only end in court, they can only run thus far.
Ejiofor, however, expressed hope that there would be light at the end of the tunnel after Tuesday’s court hearing.