Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), has been re-arraigned on a 15-count charge of treasonable felony.
When the charges were read to him on Wednesday, the IPOB leader pleaded not guilty.
In the amended charge, the federal government accused Kanu of attempting to use his broadcasts to “destabilise the fundamental political and economic structures of Nigeria”.
He was accused of inciting the public “to stage a violent revolution in furtherance of an act of terrorism against the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria”.
He was also accused of illegally importing a radio transmitter known as, Tram 500L, concealed in a container of used household items.
The government alleged that Kanu issued a deadly threat that anyone that flouted his sit-at-home order should be killed.
It said as a result of Kanu’s command, banks, schools, marketplaces, shopping malls, and filling stations were closed to the public, and vehicular movements halted throughout the country’s south-east.
Immediately after the accused took his plea, Shuaibu Labaran, prosecution counsel, told the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial, adding that he brought two witnesses to testify against the defendant.
However, Mike Ozekhome, Kanu’s lead counsel, informed the court that he filed a 43-paged preliminary objection opposing the charges.
“We are further asking that the defendant should be discharged and acquitted as there is nothing in this charge. It has no basis at all,” he said.
“We also have a motion requesting the court to grant bail to the defendant.”
But Labaran argued that Kanu’s two applications were not due for hearing.
In a brief ruling, Binta Nyako, the judge, said since Kanu’s first application is challenging the propriety of his trial as well as competence of the charge against him, the court ought to hear it first.
“As for the second motion (on the issue of bail), I don’t even want to talk about it, at least not at this stage,” Nyako held.
The court subsequently adjourned till February 16 to hear the pending application.