The Nigerian government has accused the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, of plotting to create a breakaway Biafra Republic with Nigeria’s present south-south, south-east and north central states, as component units.
The government on Friday slammed fresh charges against Mr. Kanu, shortly after a court ordered his release from custody where he has been held since October.
The six-count charges were filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
The charges were due for mention in court on Tuesday, but were deferred following the absence of the counsel to the federal government.
Count One of the charge centred on allegations of treasonable felony and reads in parts: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown persons, now at large, at London, United Kingdom, between 2014 and September, 2015 with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the President to change his measures of being the President of the Federation, Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation as defined in Section 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by doing an act to wit: Broadcast on Radio Biafra your preparations for the states in the South- East geo-political zone, South-South geo-political zone, the Igala Community of Kogi State and the Idoma/Igede Community of Benue State to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria and form themselves into a Republic of Biafra”.
The offence as stipulated by the charge is punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CCA, 2004.
Count Two of the charge contains allegations of maintaining an unlawful society, punishable under Section 63 of the same Act.
In Count Three, Mr. Kanu is accused of concealing goods of different descriptions; an offence punishable under section 47 (c) of the customs and excise management act, cap 45 laws of the Federation.
“That you, Nnamdi Kanu between the months of March and April, 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiuzor town in Ihiala local Government Area of Anambra State within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, a radio transmitter known as TRAM 5OL concealed in a container which you described as containing household items, which you so declared and that, you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 47(2) (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act.”
Mr. Kanu’s counsel, Vincent Obate, had told PREMIUM TIMES that his client who was granted bail on Thursday December 17 was still in the custody of the Office of the State Security Service, SSS, and facing fresh charges of treasonable felony among others.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the same court had, in a December 17 ruling, faulted the action of the State Security Service in detaining Mr. Kanu for over two months, without trial.
Mr. Ademola noted a specific reason for the unconditional release granted Mr. Kanu to be his prolonged detention by the SSS, without any attempt to have him (Mr. Kanu) tried.
Mr. Kanu’s release by the federal court came a day after a Magistrate Court sitting in Abuja struck out all suits filed against him.
Magistrate Shuaibu Usman struck out all criminal charges leveled against Mr. Kanu after counsel to the State Security Services, Moses Idakwo, filed for discontinuation of the matter on the instruction of his client.
Mr. Usman said since the SSS, through its lawyer, had filed for a discontinuation of the case, he had no option than to discharge the accused.
But rather than release the Radio Biafra director following the separate rulings by the two courts, the SSS slammed fresh charges against him.
Mr. Kanu, who was arrested by the SSSS as he returned to Nigeria, has been in detention since October.
Calls for his release led to demonstrations in several south east states.
Mr. Kanu was represented in court by a new counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor.