By Daniel Ojo and Festus Okoro, January 18, 2022, News/Comments
ABUJA-As the Federal Government of Nigeria continues the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, even as President Muhammadu Buhari failed to honour his words when he promised Igbo leaders under the aegis of Highly Respected Igbo Greats, led by First Republic parliamentarian and Minister of Aviation, Chief Mbazulike Amechi, at the grey room close to his main office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Buhari had told the 93-year-old statesman and his entourage that the demand they made was an extremely difficult one but he will consider it. “You’ve made an extremely difficult demand on me as leader of this country. The implication of your request is very serious. In the last six years, since I became President, nobody would say I have confronted or interfered in the work of the Judiciary. God has spared you, and given you a clear head at this age, with very sharp memory. A lot of people half your age are confused already. But the demand you made is heavy. I will consider it”, the President stated.
But with what played out yesterday where FG brought amended 15 count charges give no hope of a political solution but a dangerous omen especially to insecurity across the southeast states. Meanwhile, The Lead Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has blasted the Federal Government over the 15 fresh charges filed against Kanu. Punch had reported that Ejiofor stated this on Monday evening after visiting the IPOB’s leader ahead of the resumption of his trial on Today.
The PUNCH also reported that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, in the amended application, filed before a Federal High Court, Abuja, was presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, increased the counts from seven to 15 counts.
However, Kanu and his legal team will now have to plea and defend the charges, which was initialyl seven, ranging from treasonable felony, terrorism, inciting the public against FG, managing unlawful society etc
But the IPOB lawyer described the fresh charges as “a joke”, noting that FG intended to tactically continue to delay justice. Ejiofor however stated that FG intend to ridicule the process. “The meeting also afforded us the opportunity to further brief Onyendu on a completely ridiculous 15-Count Amended Charge filed and served on us today, the 17th day of January 2022 on a matter already fixed for hearing of our Preliminary Objection on the 18th day of January, 2022. What a joke!
“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.
“This 15-count amended charge was no doubt brought in bad faith and is aimed at needlessly prolonging proceedings in the cause. The same FGN that brought our Client to Court is needlessly initiating processes that will delay the trial.
“It is worthy to note that an Amended seven-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 make 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 each of their antics, it will only end in court, they can only run thus far”
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