Kanu pleads not guilty to amended terrorism charge, asked Court to discharge,acquit him *DSS block media coverage, lock out journalists

Detained leader of the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu on Thursday pleaded not guilty to the seven-count amended terrorism charge preferred against him by the federal government.

Kanu, who was re-arraigned  before the  trial Court Judge, Justice Binta Murtala- Nyako, was brought to court in a  disguised convoy as if the cars were carrying  judges . They drove into the  court premises through the  official judges’ entrance without the crowd knowing the defendant was in one of the cars.

No journalist was allowed to  enter the Court room and witness the trial which bears the characteristic of a secret trial .

Though six Journalists were initially cleared at the main gate of the court and entered the premises, they were stopped upon their arrival at the door leading to the courtroom by arm-wielding operatives of the secret service and denied entry. The operatives insisted their action was based on “order from above”. 

However,  the defence counsel Ifeanyi Ejimofor later emerged from the court and informed  that Kanu has pleaded not guilty to the charges when it  was read to him by the court clerk.

According to him, Kanu was in good health and has asked the court to discharge and acquit him
The counsel  said the judge has set aside its earlier order which  allowed  the defendant only two visitors a week. But the judge, however, overruled defendant counsel application to transfer Kanu from the custody of Department of State Security Service (DSS) to Correctional Centre.  The judge adduced security concerns for her refusal.

Kanu through his counsel also informed the court that he has filed Preliminary objection praying the Court to quash the seven count amended charge.

 In the application the defendant is praying for “an order striking out/quashing and or dismissing the 7-count Amended Charge, specifically, counts 1 to 7 preferred against the Defendant/Applicant in the Amended Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, for the reason that the counts, as constituted, are incompetent and thus, deprives the Honourable Court of jurisdiction to entertain the same”.

That allegations in the 7-count Amended Charge, particularly counts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, is that the Defendant/Applicant made a broadcast in London, United Kingdom, but that same was monitored in Enugu and in other parts of Nigeria.

That no allegation was made in any of the Counts of the Amended Charge that the alleged sundry acts of the Defendant/Applicant were physically carried out by him, within the geographical space or territorial boundaries of Nigeria.

That the only element requisite to constitute and found liability for incitement is the actual words allegedly uttered by the Defendant/Applicant.

That the alleged acts ascribed to the Defendant/Applicant as constituting offences, were not made up of several elements. See Section 12 of the Criminal Code Cap 38 LFN 2004. That the element of alleged inciting statements did not occur anywhere within the territorial boundaries of Nigeria. 

Further, that the only element requisite to constitute liability for incitement allegedly occurred wholly and entirely in London, United Kingdom, and not anywhere within Nigeria.

That the principal legislation that governs the trial of offences in Nigeria, namely, the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, LFN, 2004, in Section 12 thereof, clearly delineates the jurisdiction of a Court adjudicating over a crime.

 That the provisions of Sections 93-96 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, does not purport to displace any part of Section 12 of the Criminal Code Act. Neither does the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act of 2013.

That as the whole elements necessary to constitute incitement in the alleged several broadcasts of the Defendant/Applicant occurred in London, United Kingdom, and Not in Nigeria, the Court in Nigeria has no jurisdiction to try the Defendant/Applicant on any charge founded on any such alleged incitement, even if the Defendant/Applicant enters the geographical boundaries of Nigeria

The motion , the counsel said will be move on the next adjourned date November 10, 2021.