IPOB leader’s trial resumes, govt adds fresh charges

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Nnamdi Kanu (file photo)

Nigerian govt extends Kanu’s stay in custody

By Dan Uwa

The lawyer of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has raised the alarm that the Nigerian government has filed new charges against his client and thereby extending his  time in custody.

This is coming on the heels of resumption of his trial on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Ejiofor, who spoke on Tuesday, revealed that prosecutors had already served the defence team with an amended charge sheet running to 15 counts.

Ejiofor further disclosed that the amended sheet represented “the worst kind of abuse of legal process” and was designed to delay the trial and keep Kanu in detention.

Meanwhile, Nigerian security forces have prevented the media and some of Kanu’s supporters from attending his trial.

Kanu appeared in court in Abuja last June 29 after being detained in an undisclosed country. His lawyer alleged he was captured and mistreated in Kenya.

Nnamdi Kanu heads Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a group he founded in 2014 that is pressing for the secession of the Igbo ethnic group’s homeland, which covers part of southeast Nigeria.

An attempt by the homeland to secede as the Republic of Biafra in 1967 – the year that Kanu was born – triggered a three-year civil war that killed more than 1 million people.

Nigerian authorities view IPOB as a terrorist group and last year accused it of a string of attacks on police stations and government offices in the southeast. The group denied it and called the accusations an attempt to force it to disband.

Kanu, a British citizen, was arrested in 2015 but disappeared while on bail in April 2017. Authorities say social media commentaries that he posted and broadcasts that he made on separatist Radio Biafra before he was recaptured encouraged attacks on security forces.

Kanu has pleaded not guilty to all seven charges that he faces, which include terrorism, calling for secession and knowingly broadcasting falsehoods about President Muhammadu Buhari.

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