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’Treasonable felony’: Nnamdi Kanu files preliminary objection, says court lacks power to try him

 

Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has filed a preliminary objection against the charge filed against him by the federal government.

 

Kanu is standing trial on a seven-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

 

In the preliminary objection, the IPOB leader is praying the court to decline jurisdiction to hear the charge, which he said is defective.

 

Kanu argued that the law upon which counts 1,2,3, 4,5 and 8 of the charges are predicated is “unconstitutional” and “has been repealed”.

 

The defendant also argued that some of the counts are “not supported by proof of evidence and are otherwise an abuse of process”.

 

Kanu noted that the prosecution failed to state the place of commission of the alleged offences and the specific dates of the broadcasts alleged in counts 1,2,4,5 and 8 of the charge.

 

“Regarding counts 1,2,3,4,5 and 8, the provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 (as amended in 2013) under which the IPOB was proscribed and declared a terrorist group are inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and are thus void to the extent of the inconsistency,” the document reads.

 

 “Regarding counts 1,2,3,4,5 and 8, there is a subsisting judgment of a High Court to the effect that the executive action leading to the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist group and its proscription is unconstitutional.

 

“Regarding counts 1,2,3,4,5 and 8, there are two international tribunal decisions against the arrest, detention, prosecution and trial of the applicant which are, by virtue of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution, binding on the complainant and this honourable court.

 

“Count 3 of the charges against the defendant/applicant is unconstitutional as it seeks to punish the applicant for an act that was not a crime when it occurred and is otherwise an abuse of process.

 

“The Law under which the applicant is being tried in counts 1,2,3,4,5 and 8 has been repealed.

 

 “Counts 1,2,3,4,5 and 8 are incurably defective as the Applicant is misled by the failure to state the place or where the alleged offences were committed and the specific dates of the alleged broadcasts.

 

“Count 15 is not in compliance with the Administration of Criminal Justice Act; it is not within the territorial jurisdiction of this honourable court; and it is not supported by any proof of evidence, and law under which applicant is being tried in these counts has otherwise been repealed.”

 

BACKGROUND

 

In 2017, the court granted Kanu bail on the treasonable felony charges filed against him by the federal government.

 

However, the court revoked Kanu’s bail and issued a bench warrant for his arrest after he failed to present himself as required.

 

The IPOB leader was rearrested in Kenya in 2021 and extradited to Nigeria — after being on the run for a few years.

 

In April 2022, Nyako struck out eight of the 15 counts in the charge.

 

The remaining seven counts were also quashed by the court of appeal on October 13, 2022, with the judge ordering Kanu’s release.

 

However, on October 28, 2022, the court of appeal granted a stay of execution on its verdict discharging Kanu, after the federal government filed an appeal at the supreme court.

 

On December 15, 2023, a five-member panel of the apex court reversed the verdict of the appeal court and ordered Kanu to resume his trial before the federal high court.

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