By Wandoo Sombo
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed Feb. 10 to rule on whether or not it will dismiss the treason charges preferred against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The court would also rule on whether or not to quash the charges preferred against three other defendants, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, who were charged along with Kanu.
Similarly, the court would give a ruling on an application bordering on the competence of the charge against Kanu, the first defendant.
The four defendants are standing trial for alleged treasonable felony and terrorism.
At the resumed hearing on Thursday, Kanu’s Counsel, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, argued that his client’s application challenging the charge against him was based on the fact that there was no case against him.
“Our application was premised on the fact that the proof of evidence attached to the charge cannot sustain the charge because it did not disclose a prima facie case against Kanu.”
According to him, the proof of evidence is empty, baseless and unfounded and in that circumstance, the court is required to quash the charge and discharge and acquit the person involved.
“He is being accused of committing an offence of treasonable felony and also conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, the law requires that ingredients of the said treasonable felony should be established.
“But the defendant was not found with any arms, was not caught with anybody holding a meeting, never said he was coming to overthrow the president of the country.
“They are merely exercising their right to self-determination which is clearly provided under article 20 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights and also under article 1 and 55 of the United Nations Charter.’’
He said these were constitutional rights and could not translate to a case of treasonable felony.
Counsel to the 2nd to 4th defendants, Mr Inalegwu Adoga, Mr E.I Esene and Mr Maxwell Okpara, all made similar arguments.
They all held that the proof of evidence attached to their clients’ charge did not establish a prima facie case against them and should be quashed.
Adoga, in his argument, said that his client was arrested for his intentions and not because of an overt act, adding that the prosecution’s case against his client was based on mere sentiments.
On his part, Okpara added that his client was only brought into the matter in order to convict the first defendant.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr Shuiabu Labaran, opposed the applications on the grounds that they had no substance.
The judge, Justice Binta Nyako, adjourned till Feb. 10 to rule on the applications.
Nyako had said on Tuesday that the ruling on the applications would determine whether the case would be terminated or continued.
Mr Osaro Odemwingie, a representative of the British High Commission, was in court to witness the proceedings, while placard carrying IPOB members were outside the court complex singing and dancing.