Leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB),Nnamdi Kanu should stand trial and answer to charges that include terrorism and broadcasting falsehoods, a High Court judge ruled on Friday.
Kanu, a British citizen denies all the charges, which are linked to broadcasts he made between 2018 and last year. A judge ruled that Kanu will stand trial on seven counts of terrorism out of 15, and stuck out eight of the charges which the government brought against the IPOB leader.
The hearing was held in camera. A federal court judge ruled on Thursday that all trials of terrorism cases in Nigeria will henceforth be held in camera.
Separately, Kanu’s lead lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, said that Kanu cannot be tried on charges of terrorism and knowingly broadcasting falsehoods because he was not extradited from Kenya based on those charges.
The Kenyan high commissioner has denied his country’s involvement. Kanu disappeared from Nigeria after skipping bail in 2017. He was arrested after years on the run.
IPOB, which Kanu founded in 2014, is pressing for the secession of old eastern Nigeria where the majority of the population is of the Igbo ethnic group. Authorities view IPOB as a terrorist group. IPOB says it wants to achieve independence through non-violent means.
An attempt by the Igbo to secede as the Republic of Biafra in 1967, the year that Kanu was born triggered a three-year civil war that killed more than 1 million people.
IPOB, has ordered businesses in the southeast to “sit-at-home”, a form of civil disobedience to show solidarity with Kanu since his arrest and trials in Abuja, crippling economic activities.