The Federal Government on Tuesday re-arraigned four co-defendants of the missing leader of the indigenous People of Biafra, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, for treasonable felony and other related charges.
This followed the order of the court made on February 20, 2018 directing the separation of Kanu’s trial from that of the rest of his co-defendants.
The judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had made the order following an application for separation of the trials by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, who expressed worry about the delay the case continued to suffer due to Kanu’s absence.
The prosecution had subsequently filed a separate set of three counts against the four defendants.
Kanu’s name featured as a co-suspect “now at large” in two of the three amended counts.
The defendants included Bright Chimezie, who was arraigned for the first time on Tuesday.
Others are Kanu’s former co-defendants.
They are the National Coordinator of IPOB, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe; an IPOB member, Benjamin Madubugwu; and a former Field Maintenance Engineer seconded to the telecommunication company, MTN, David Nwawuisi.
Each of the four defendants represented by separate lawyers on Tuesday pleaded not guilty to the three counts.
In the first count, all the four defendants including Kanu and others said to be at large, were said to have in 2014 and 2015 in Nigeria and London, United Kingdom, conspired among themselves (o commit treasonable felony by broadcasting on Radio Biafraagitation for the secession of Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.
They were allegedly seeking the secession of the South-East and South-South states as well as some communities in Kogi and Benue states from Nigeria as a Republic of Biafra.
The offence was said to be punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, CAP, C77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In count two, Chimezie was said to have with Kanu between the months of March and April 2015 “imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State” a radio transmitter known as TRAM 50L concealed in a container of used household items.”
The offence was said to be contrary to section 47(2)(a) of the Custom and Excise Management Act, Cap, C45, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
In the third count, Madubugwu was said to have sometimes in October 2015 had in his possession in his house at Ubulusiuzor, one Emerald Magnum Pump Action gun with serial number TS 870-113-0046 and one Delta Magnum Pump Action gun with serial number 501 as well as 41 cartridge/ammunition without lawful authority or licence.
The offence was said to be contrary to section 27(b)(i) of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
After the defendants pleaded not guilty to the three charges on Tuesday, the judge ordered the DSS to transfer Chimezie from their custody to the prison.
She fixed Thursday for commencement of trial.