The Lead Counsel to Nnamdi Kanu and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, has tackled the Federal Government of Nigeria over the 15 fresh charges filed against the detained leader of IPOB. He made this known in an update on Monday evening after visiting the IPOB’s leader ahead of the resumption of his trial on Tuesday.
It was earlier reported that the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, in the amended application, filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, increased the counts from 7 to 15 counts.
The IPOB leader, who has been facing a seven-count treasonable felony charge, is expected to enter his fresh plea to the fresh charges on January 18, 2022 when the matter will be coming up for hearing.
The lawyer described the fresh charges as “a joke”, adding that the Federal Government intended to delay justice with them.
Part of the update read; “The meeting also afforded us the opportunity to further brief Onyendu on a completely ridiculous 15-Count Amended Charges filed and served on us today, the 17th day of January 2022 on a matter already fixed for hearing of our Preliminary Objection on the 18th day of January, 2022. What a joke!
“Today, we were served with a 15-Count Amended Charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation in respect of a case already scheduled tomorrow, for the hearing of our Preliminary objection challenging the competence of the 7-Count Amended Charge.
“This is indeed a joke taken too far as the Federal Government of Nigeria is now scouting for an opportunity to truncate tomorrow’s proceeding, knowing fully well that the smokescreen charge is dead on arrival.
“We wish to categorically point out with dismay, that this further Amended Charge is the WORST kind of abuse of legal process that we have encountered in the history of legal practice – either in Nigeria or anywhere in the world.
“This 15-count amended charge was no doubt brought in bad faith and is aimed at prolonging proceedings in the cause. The same FG that brought our Client to Court is initiating processes that will delay the trial.
“It is worthy to note that an Amended seven-count charge had earlier been filed against Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu since October 2021, pursuant to which a preliminary objection was raised against this 7-Count Amended Charge. The parties have fully filed and exchanged processes and arguments on the objection, and the same has been set down for hearing.
“Brazenly, a day before the hearing date, and without affording the court the opportunity to listen to arguments on the objection, and make a decision on the objection raised one way or the other, the prosecution, in utter bad faith, filed a further amended charge to supersede and supplant the earlier Amended Charge on which issues have been joined on the objection raised against it. This is, indeed, the worst kind of abuse of the court process.
“Although the prosecution has the liberty to amend a charge, it cannot exercise that prerogative to abuse the process of the court, or to supplant an objection that has been raised against an earlier amendment, which has not been decided on, or to overreach the defence, or to render nugatory or as a fait accompli the decision of the court on a pending preliminary objection against an Amended Charge that is yet to be determined.
“Nevertheless, we herein assure UmuChineke that we have already devised a solution to each of their antics, it will only end in court, they can only run thus far,” Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor.