Indications have emerged that President Mohammadu Buhari-led federal government may slam terrorism charges against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
This followed a discontinuation of trial application by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Monday at a Wuse 2 Margistrate Court, Abuja.
After meeting stringent bail conditions by the court, the DSS refused to grant Kanu bail.
The Director of Radio Biafra was docked a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to unlawful society, to which he had pleaded not guilty.
Terrorism charges against Kanu may be a ploy by the government to keep him in custody without bail, having met stringent bail conditions granted him by the Magistrate court within a week.
The Street Reporters gathered that it is believed in the security quarters that releasing him on bail would be counter productive.
It was further gathered that a terror charge would help the government manage the human rights abuse allegations against it for refusing to release the accused person even after meeting his bail conditions.
According to the TERRORISM (PREVENTION) (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2013 section 13.”(1) Any person or entity who, in or outside Nigeria-
(a) solicits, acquires, provides, collects, receives, possesses or makes available funds, property or other services by any means to
(i) terrorists, or
(ii) terrorist groups, directly or indirectly with the intention or knowledge or having reasonable grounds to believe that such funds or property
will be used in full or in part in order to commit an offence under this Act or in breach of the provisions of this Act,
“(b) posseses funds intending that it be used or knowing that it will be used, directly or indirectly , in whole or in part, for the purpose of committing or facilitating the commission of a terrorist act by terrorist or terrorist groups, Financing of terrorism commits an offence under this Act and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life imprisonment”.
On Monday, at the resumed sitting of the case, prosecution counsel, Moses Idakwo, informed the court that after the arraignment of the accused, the complainant stumbled on some facts which took the matter out of the jurisdiction of the court.
According to him, the complainant found out that the accused was involved in terrorism and has been financing it.
“The complainant is, therefore, applying to discontinue the matter under section 108(1) of administration of criminal justice act 2015.’’
Idakwo said that the DSS had also obtained an order from the Federal High Court, Abuja, dated Nov.10, to detain the accused in its custody for 90 days.
Objecting, Kanu’s counsel, Vincent Obetta, prayed the court not to discontinue the case because the prosecution did not present any information from the Attorney-General of Federation who had the authority to approve such.
Obetta told the court that the DSS violated the order of the court which granted bail that was perfected but not granted, adding that the accused had been in DSS custody since he was arrested.
He therefore urged the court to transfer his client to prison custody to enable him have easy access to his legal team.
Obeta made the application shortly after the DSS urged the Magistrate Court to hands-off Kanu’s trial.
Subsequently, the magistrate, Mr Usman Shuaibu, after listening to both counsels, adjourned the matter until December 1 for ruling.
Kanu was brought to court on the order of the Magistrate following the absence of the accused person, at the earlier adjourned date.
Magistrate Usman had expressed disappointment over the refusal of the security agency to produce Kanu despite an express order of the court to that effect.
Usman then ordered the DSS to produce him on on Monday, November 23, to enable him identify his legal team.
However, rather than continue the trial, the DSS applied to discontinue the case.
The placard carrying protesters, who wore T-shirts and caps with inscriptions like “Biafra Now or Never”, “Buhari Release Kanu For Us”, “On Biafra We Stand”, yesterday, sang and danced outside the court premises, while hearing was going on in the criminal case that was entered against Kanu by the federal government.
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