The Federal Government on Tuesday re-arraigned leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, along with other accused on charges that include terrorism, before the third judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja.The accused were re-arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako on amended 11 counts, comprising terrorism, treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods.
All the counts were in connection with the accused persons’ alleged broadcasts on Radio Biafra and agitation for the secession from of states in the South-East and South-South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states, to constitute a Republic of Biafra.
The original charges filed on December 18, 2015 had only six counts, with the exclusion of terrorism which is now the 11th count in the new charges filed on November 11, 2016.
Those originally charged along with Kanu were Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
But in the amended charges filed by the new Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, Mr. Umar Mohammed, the National Coordinator of IPOB member, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe was added to the defendants, bringing the number of accused persons to fourr.
The re-arraignment was necessitated by Kanu’s recent rejection of the former judge, Justice John Tsoho, on the grounds that the judge, before whom prosecution had yet to open its case, was biased.
Earlier in December 2015, Kanu had also rejected Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the same Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on the same grounds.
Justice Nyako on Tuesday became the third judge before whom the accused had appeared in respect to the charges originally filed on December 18, 2015.
With the rejection of the previous judge, Justice Tsoho, the prosecution amended the former six counts by adding five fresh counts, including terrorism and brought in Onwudiwe as the second defendant.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the counts.