The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed February 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, yesterday, 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.
Meanwhile, an Abuja Federal High Court, yesterday, suspended the secret trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), till further notice, even as both IPOB and the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) have disagreed on tactics and strategy for achieving their desired goal.
Justice Binta Nyako announced the suspension of the trial, yesterday, following a prima facie suit filed by Nnamdi Kanu’s counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor challenging the veracity of the charges levelled against them.
Shortly after his introduction, Ejiofor argued that the charges against the defendants lack merit and basic proof.
According to Ejiofor, “Nnamdi Kanu (the first defendant) is only exercising his right to self-determination.”
He contended that the defendants started their agitations before Muhammadu Buhari emerged as President; hence do not pose any threat to the Federal Government.
After listening to his argument, Nyako suspended the trial till further notice.
Kanu alongside Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, are currently facing trial before the Justice Nyako–led court for charges bordering on treasonable felony.
However, the leadership of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has come hard on the leader of Biafra Independent Movement (BIM), Chief Raph Lebeanya Uwazurike to prove how their leader, Nnamdi Kanu and other leaders of IPOB are frauds and have been deceiving Biafrans and the world as he has alleged.
To show that they are serious about the spurious allegation, the organisation has given Uwazurike four days to recant his allegation or they will expose his evil deeds that led to his expulsion from MASSOB so that the world will know who is deceiving the Biafrans and the world.
A statement signed by the Deputy Leader of the organisation, Mazi Uche Mefor, and image makers, Barr. Emma Mmezu and Dr. Clifford Iroanya, respectively, gave Uwazurike four days to expose IPOB leadership or they will open cans of worms capable of drowning the BIM for life in Nigeria, Biafra and the entire world.
The organisation, in the statement, said that if Uwazurike had been committed to the restoration of Biafra as he made people believe, there wouldn’t have been need for the formation of other pro-Biafra liberation movements like IPOB, BZM and even his BIM.
Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.
FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer
The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.
Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media
The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.
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