A Police officer outside the court complex

Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), was tried in court on October 21, 2021, in the Federal High Court Abuja along Shehu Shagari Way in Abuja’s Central Business District (CBD), with a large presence of Government Security Forces (GSF).

Due to the nature of the trial, security forces accompanying Kanu blocked up the outbound route from Maitama into CBD at the Federal Court complex, limiting traffic movement to the Maitama inbound lane. As a result, traffic was congested between the Transcorp and Eagle Square axis of Shehu Shagari Way in the CBD, causing delays along Ahmadu Bello Way, Wuse Abuja, behind the Federal High Court building. Journalists and others were denied entry to the court’s grounds. Several arrests were purportedly made, as well as a brief riots by hoodlums.

              Nnamdi Kanu in court

Amidst the foregoing, apprehension ensured across the South East region were threats of an imposition of a Month’s long Sit-at-home (SAH) pending the outcome of today’s hearing and other hostilities which had been announced, also given the susceptibility of facing attacks individuals and business continued to operate discreetly in order to avoid targeted harassment from thugs and unnecessary scrutiny from State Governments particularly in Ebonyi and Imo State.

However, at the close of the court hearing in Abuja, Kanu pleaded “not guilty” to a seven-count charge leveled against him by the Federal Government bordering around Terrorism and other treasonable felonies.

Some of the revised accusations include: secessionist utterances, hurling obscenities at the president, illegal importation of a radio transmitter, membership in the proscribed IPOB organisation, coordination of assaults on security personnel, and so on.

                                         Ebonyi, Abia and Enugu States during the sit at home order.

Following the defendant’s unsuccessful request to be moved to the Kuje Correctional Centre, the judge ruled that he stay in the custody of the Department of State Services and adjourned the case until 10 November 2021.

Given the events that have occurred over the period of three months with SAH orders, more antagonism cannot be ruled out, especially since today’s hearing did not go in IPOB’s favour. The economic consequences of voluntary SAH order compliance will continue to weigh heavily on companies and the South East’s commercial vibrancy.