We have noticed you are using an ad blocker
To continue providing news and award winning journalism, we rely on advertising revenue.
To continue reading, please turn off your ad blocker or whitelist us.
A Nigerian magistrates court has discharged Nnamdi Kanu following his arrest in Lagos. The court in the federal capital of Abuja, Wuse Zone 2, discharged the controversial director of Radio Biafra of all counts of criminal conspiracy, as well as ownership of an unlawful society.
The judge said that the state security service (DSS) – who arrested Kanu in Lagos earlier in October – dropped the charged against him, local media reported. "The accused person is hereby discharged and the case struck out," the court confirmed.
The DSS refused to release Kanu – leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) – after the Abuja court had granted him bail in October. The DSS argued the conditions for the bail were not met and obtained permission from the Abuja High Court to detain Kanu for a further 90 days to investigate on alleged terrorism charges.
A hearing on the trial for terrorism charges has been scheduled for 17 December. The High Court is to rule on the bail application.
Uchechi Okwu-Kanu, Kanu's wife, told IBTimes UK: "Nnamdi has been discharged and acquitted but the DSS did not bring him to court. So the ruling was given despite his absence. Now that the magistrates court has not found him guilty, it is left for the high court to decide. I go through each day not knowing how it goes by. I will keep holding up."
Mazi Mmaduabuchi Anyagulu, a member of Ipob, told IBTimes UK: "The DSS has applied that the magistrate court should discontinue the court case filed against Nnamdi Kanu for the purpose of continuing his detention under the court order obtained from the federal high court.
"The dismissal of our leaders case from the magistrate court should not and cannot be a source of joy or jubilation to my people," he continued. "As far as I am concerned, the Nigerian government is still playing with the intelligence of collective reasoning of the Biafran people."
During a hearing on 14 December, Kanu's lawyer Vincent Obetta reiterated he had filed a lawsuit against the DDS arguing that Kanu's prolonged detention was in violation of the constitution and the African Charter on Human Rights. He added his client had not been moved from the Kuje prison, as requested by the lower court.
Prosecutor Moses Idakwo said Kanu should not be granted bail as he was being investigated for terrorism-related charges. He added the DSS had evidence of bank accounts owned by Kanu where monies were allegedly used for financing terror acts against Nigeria. Idakwo also alleged that as Kanu has British citizenship and could thus flee the country should he be released.
However, Obetta told IBTimes UK:" The terrorism charges are just speculation. Kanu has been detained for 90 days and the detention is against the law. He was grated bail on 19 October and he has to be released. If he is released, he is still expected to attend his trial in Nigeria."
The charges were dropped as hundreds of people took part in pro-Biafra protests in Lagos calling for Kanu's release. Demonstrators are also calling for the independence of Biafran territories that were part of a separate state before British colonisation.