Mazi Kanu’s team of lawyers speaking with the press after the ruling. Photo: Ifeoma Nwovu
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has struck out 8 out of the 15-count treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
In a ruling, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, struck out counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 of the charge.
The ruling followed an application Mazi Kanu filed to quash the entire charge against him.
Mazi Kanu, in the application he filed through his team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome maintained that the charge against him was legally defective.
Chief Ozekhome argued that since some of the allegations the Federal Government levelled against his client, were purportedly committed outside the country, the high court, therefore, lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the charge.
He argued that under the Federal High Court Act, such charge must disclose specific location where the offence was committed.
Consequently, Ozekhome urged the court to dismiss the charge, as well as to discharge and acquit the defendant of the entire 15-count charge pending against him.
However, the Prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, prayed the court to strike out Kanu’s application and order the prosecution to open its defence, arguing that the application would touch the substance of the case that is yet to be heard.
Speaking with journalists after the matter, Mr Labaran said the court hinted parties that Mazi’s trial would no longer be heard at the Federal High Court due to the inconveniences that neighbouring offices, motorists and pedestrians always encounter during trial.
Reacting to the new practice direction of the court, Chief Ozekhome expressed worry that it would jeopardise defence trial of an accused person which was unhealthy for his client.
After Justice Nyako struck out some of the counts, she therefore adjourned until the 18th of next month
Reporting by Ifeoma Nwovu; editing by Muzha Kucha