Nnamdi Kanu pleads not guilty to terrorism charges, remains stuck with DSS

Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the case till November 10.

Nnamdi Kanu [AFP]

Leader of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, pleaded not guilty to an amended seven-count charge during his anticipated court appearance in Abuja on Thursday, October 21, 2021.

The Federal Government re-arrested the separatist in June to resume the court case that stalled when he jumped bail and fled abroad four years ago.

He was immediately remanded to the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) but the secret police failed to produce him in court for his scheduled July 26 hearing, prompting adjournment to October 21.

The government recently amended Kanu's charges from five to seven to cover alleged offences committed in the past four years he was on the run.

He's charged with using his Radio Biafra broadcasts in 2014 and 2015 to prepare for secession of south east and south south zones from Nigeria; as well as inciting IPOB members this year to hunt down security agents and their families.

The government further charged him with using broadcasts to push and threaten terrorist acts in Nigeria, especially threatening people that failed to obey IPOB's sit-at-home orders in the south east region.

IPOB was declared a terrorist organisation in the wake of Kanu's 2017 disappearance, and the amended charges now accuse him of violating the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013 for repeatedly admitting to being a member of the group since then despite its official proscription.

The separatist was also charged with insulting President Muhammadu Buhari, allegedly calling the 78-year-old 'a paedophile, a terrorist, an idiot, and an embodiment of evil' in a 2015 broadcast.

Kanu pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to him at a Federal High Court in the capital city on Thursday.

His application to be moved from the custody of the DSS to Kuje Correctional Service Centre was rejected by Justice Binta Nyako.

A similar application, filed in July, to be moved to Kuje was also rejected by the court.

Kanu's legal team has made repeated allegations that he's being subjected to mental and psychological torture in custody of the DSS.

He also filed a fresh application on Thursday asking the court to dismiss the amended charges due to lack of competence.

Justice Nyako adjourned the case till November 10 when the application will be considered.

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