Hundreds of agitators for the creation of Biafra Republic, yesterday, besieged an Abuja Chief Magistrate Court sitting at Wuse Zone 2, demanding the unconditional release of the self-declared leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.
The placard carrying protesters, who wore T-shirts and caps with inscriptions like “Biafra Now or Never”, “Buhari Release Kanu For Us”, “On Biafra We Stand”, yesterday, sang and danced outside the court premises, while hearing was going on in the criminal case that was entered against Kanu by the federal government.
Meantime, following an order of the court, the Department of State Security, DSS, yesterday, produced the detained Director of Radio Biafra and Television, Kanu.
Chief Magistrate Shauibu Usman had at the last adjourned date, berated the DSS over its failure to produce Kanu in court on two consecutive times the matter came up before the court.
Magistrate Usman said he was disappointed that the security agency refused to produce Kanu despite an express order of the court.
Consequently, he directed that the accused person must be brought before the court yesterday.
Meanwhile, at the resumed hearing on the matter yesterday, Kanu, who the government accused of engaging in criminal conspiracy, managing and belonging to an unlawful society, as well as indulging in criminal intimidation, contrary to section 97 (a)&(b) and section 397 of the Penal Code, begged to be transferred to prison custody.
His lawyer, Mr. Vincent Egechukwu Obeta, insisted that transferring his client to prison would enable him to have easy access to his legal team.
Obeta made the application shortly after the DSS, yesterday, urged the Magistrate Court to hands-off Kanu’s trial.
The DSS, through its lawyer, Mr Moses Idakwo, told the court that it has already secured an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja to further detain Kanu for another 90 days.
It said that the order which was granted by Justice Ademola Adeniyi, was to enable the government to conclude investigation into an allegation that Kanu was involved in terrorism financing.
Consequently, the DSS, yesterday, applied to withdraw the initial First Information Report, FIR, it lodged against Kanu before the Chief Magistrate Court.
The agency maintained that the government would file a fresh charge against Kanu before a higher court, once its ongoing investigation is concluded.
Idakwo therefore asked Magistrate Usman to step down from the trial on the ground that his court lacks the power and jurisdiction to prosecute terrorism charges.
The application was vehemently opposed by Kanu’s lawyer Obeta, who insisted that the bail earlier granted the accused person must firstly be complied with before any application for transfer of the case to a federal high court could be entertained.
After listening to both parties, Magistrate Usman adjourned the case till December 1 for ruling.
Kanu who was brought to court yesterday under heavy security, was on October 17, picked up in Lagos by security operatives, shortly after he arrived Nigeria from his base in the United Kingdom.