The Department of State Services, DSS, has again, denied journalists access to the courtroom where the trial of detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, is expected to resume today.
Kanu, who was re-arraigned before trial Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, is facing a seven-count amended treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him.
As early as 6 am when this reporter arrived at the court which is adjacent to the Federal Ministry of Justice, heavily armed operatives of the DSS ordered him to turn back.
The hooded operatives, who barricaded all routes leading to the court, equally barred both print and broadcast Journalists from major media organizations from entering the court premises.
“We are working on instruction. We can’t let you people in”, one of the operatives told newsmen.
As of 8:23 am when this report was filed, the operatives had yet to allow any Journalist to gain access to the court premises.
Similarly, some lawyers and Igbo traditional rulers that arrived at the court around 7 am, were also turned back.
Other security agents on the ground to ensure that no journalist is allowed into the court, were drawn from the Nigerian Police Force, and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Officials of the court had after a meeting it held with leaders of the National Association of Judiciary Correspondents, NAJUC, on Tuesday, disclosed that Justice Nyako insisted that she would only allow five journalists into the courtroom.
Sequel to their instruction, a five-man list, comprising of journalists from the Print, Television, Radio and Online news outlets, among whom included this reporter, was submitted to the court.
However, upon arrival at court on Wednesday, DSS operatives refused to allow any journalists in.
Effort to persuade the security agents to bulge is still ongoing.
FG alleged that as a result of Kanu’s directive, banks, schools, markets, shopping malls, fuel stations were not opened for businesses, with vehicular movements grounded in the South East region of the country.
It said the action amounted to an offence contrary to and punishable under 1(2) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
FG alleged that Kanu had “on or about the 28th April 2015 in London, the United Kingdom did in a broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu, Enugu state and other parts of Nigeria within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, referred to Major General Muhammadu Buhari, GCON, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a paedophile, a terrorist, an idiot and an embodiment of evil, knowing same to be false and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C. 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.
He was alleged to have committed treasonable felony, an offence punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria
He was alleged to have between 2018 and 2021, through Radio Biafra, professed to be a member of IPOB, a proscribed organization in Nigeria, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16 of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
In count five of the charge, FG alleged that Kanu had on April 22, 2021, in London, the United Kingdom, on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other parts of Nigeria, did an act of terrorism “in that you incite the other members (followers) of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a proscribed organization in Nigeria, to look for security personnel, their family members through a Radio Biafra on 102.1FM monitored through the IPOB Community Radio, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 1 (2) (h) of the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act, 2013.
Attached in support of the amended charge dated October 14, included a seven-paragraphed affidavit of completion of investigation deposed to by one Loveme Odubo, a prosecutor in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
FG equally lined up five witnesses to testify in the matter, among whom are officials of the DSS and one Ronald S. who was identified as the manager of a Hotel in Lagos.
FG had in the amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, which was signed by a team of government lawyers led by the Director, Public Prosecution of the Federation, Mr M. B. Abubakar, alleged that Kanu had in furtherance of an act of terrorism, issued a deadly threat that anyone that flouted his sit-at-home order should write his or her will.