The Federal Government on Tuesday re-arraigned four co-defendants of the missing leader of the indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, for treasonable felony and other related charges before Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Nyako, had on 20th Febuary ordered the separation of Kanu’s case from that of the rest of his co-defendants based on an application in that direction by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran.
The prosecution therefore filed a separate set of three counts against the four defendants, with Kanu’s name featuring 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 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.
The four defendants, who were represented by separate lawyers, pleaded not guilty to the charges
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 Biafra agitation for the secession of Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.
They were accused of 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 accused of being in 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 in Oct. 2015 without lawful authority or licence.
The prosecution said offence contravened to section 27(b)(i) of the Firearms Act, Cap F28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
After the taking of the defendants’ pleas, the trail judge ordered the DSS to transfer Chimezie from their custody to the prison.
The trial resumes on Thursday.