Nnamdi Kanu: Mike Ozekhome joins legal team as IPOB leader, faces fresh terrorism charges

Nnamdi Kanu and Ozekhome today in court

The leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has engaged the services of a prominent lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, to strengthen his defence team in his trial on terrorism charges.

This came on the heels of the amended charges filed against Mr Kanu by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, scaling up the number of counts from 15 to 18.

On Tuesday morning, Mr Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), was seen alongside Ifeanyi Ejiofor, a leading counsel for Mr Kanu, at the Federal High Court premises in Abuja.

“I am now a member of the legal team, I’m leading this morning,” Mr Ozekhome confirmed to a PREMIUM TIMES’ reporter after taking his seat at the front row of Binta Nyako’s court, the trial judge, on Tuesday morning.

Mr Ozekhome, a vocal critic of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, often lambasting it for its poor human rights records, arrived at the Federal High Court in Abuja with a retinue of lawyers.

Mr Ejiofor confirmed to journalists that changes have been effected in the defence team in view of the new challenges from the federal government.

At about 9: 30 a.m, Emmanuel Kanu, the IPOB leader’s younger brother, arrived at the courtroom in company with his wife, their toddler, to observe the day’s proceedings.

The younger Kanu donned in the Igbo ethnic attire, Isiagwu with a cap to match, struggled to get seats with his wife and baby clinging to a family member as the courtroom appeared full in line with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

While Mr Kanu arrived at the courtroom at 9:47a.m., the trial judge, Mrs Nyako, resumed sitting at 9:55 a.m.

Security tighter around the court

Security presence at the court premises was heavier than previous sittings, as vehicular and human traffic was completely diverted from the Federal High Court and adjoining streets.

Armed hooded State Security Service (SSS) and police operatives manned strategic locations around the court as they turned people away from the court.

Lawyers and journalists have extreme difficulty accessing the courtroom despite being accredited to cover the day’s proceedings on Tuesday.

Lawyer to Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Goddy Uwazurike, had earlier confirmed to Newsmart the difficulty in accessing the the courtroom this morning

In a chat with Newsmart, he said, “I am at the road leading to the Federal High Court, Abuja, for the trial of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. There is tight security around the roads leading to the court. 

“DSS mounted security checks all over the adjourning roads. To be allowed to enter the court, lawyers are screened thoroughly. A lawyer enters if and only if he is cleared. I am still waiting for clearance to be allowed to enter the court premises. I have been doing so for the past one hour, he wrote around around 9:45 am today, January 18, 2022.

~Additional reports from Premium Times
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