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Detained pro-Biafra leader, Nnamdi Kanu, disowns MEND; set for govt talks



Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the separatist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, has expressed the willingness of his group to negotiate with the Federal Government to end the agitation for self-governance.

Mr. Kanu and two others, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, are facing trial for alleged treason.

They have been in detention since October 2015.

The government accuses them of being members of unlawful organisation and having illegal possession of firearms.

Reacting to the government’s decision on Thursday to release some members of the group who were arrested in February, Mr. Kanu’s lawyers, led by Ifeanyi Ejiofor and the Amoebi Nzelu, said they were not opposed to talks with the government.

“Nnamdi Kanu is not averse to political solution in resolving his present politically orchestrated ordeal,” Mr. Ejiofor said.

“He welcomes genuine political solution to this case. Nnamdi Kanu has people of proven integrity and impeccable character that will negotiate on his behalf, based on his demands when communication on this effect is established.”

He however warned that the information going round in the media that Mr. Kanu was connected to the decision of members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger delta, MEND, to negotiate with government was false.

“In the past few day, the media was awash with news on negotiation going on between the Federal government and members MEND, where our client’s name (Nnamdi Kanu) conspicuously featured.

“It is on that note that we wish to inform the general public that Nnamdi Kanu has no connection, contact, ties or any kind of relationship with members of the MEND. As such MEND has no implied, direct or express authority of Nnamdi Kanu to represent him or IPOB in any purported negotiation going on between MEND and the Federal Government.

“The general public is accordingly advised to ignore, discountenance and disregard the falsehood been peddled by MEND,” said Mr. Ejiofor.

Mr. Ejiofor added that his client no longer had confidence in the court where the case against him is currently being heard.

Mr. Ejiofor said the court, presided by Justice John Tsoho, had denied his client bail, despite an earlier decision of the same court under Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who granted bail to the first defendant in the matter.

Mr. Ejiofor said the decision of Mr. Tsoho to vary an earlier ruling of his (Tsoho) court by yielding to the request of the prosecution for the protection of witnesses in the ongoing trial of Mr. Kanu was further confirmation that the court under his (Tsoho) leadership would not grant justice to his client.

“In the face of this anomaly, it became apparent that our client, Nnamdi Kanu, cannot get a fair trial in this very court. These among other sundry reasons necessitated the other actions we adopted to demand that the honourable court disqualifies itself from further proceeding with the hearing of the case,” he said.

Mr. Ejiofor said the media should ensure a correct interpretation of the charges against their clients, saying Mr. Kanu is the only person directly accused of treasonable felony.

“The six count charges proffered against our clients show in summary that our client (Namdi Kanu) is facing three charges; treasonable felony, managing unlawful society and concealing goods in a container holding goods of different description.

“The second defendant Mr. Benjamin Madubugwu is facing two count charges (that is counts 4 and 5) of assisting the management of unlawful society and unlawful possession of fire arms, while the third defendant is facing only one count charge of assisting the management of unlawful society.

“The question now arises as to whether a single individual can be charged solely with the offence of treasonable felony, considering the ingredients of the offence of treason as enumerated under section 41 of the Criminal Code Act cap C38 laws of the federation of Nigeria,” Mr. Ejiofor said.