The Federal Government on Tuesday, re-arraigned Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on an amended three-count charge.
Their re-arraignment was sequel to the severance of their trial from that of Nnamdi Kanu, whose whereabout has been unknown since Sept. 2017.
When the matter was called on Tuesday, counsel to the government, Mr Shuaibu Labaran, said that there was an amended charge of three counts against the quartet.
He prayed the court to allow the charge which bordered on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony, improper importation of goods and illegal possession of firearms to be read to them.
They all pleaded not guilty to all the charges and Labaran asked the court for an adjournment to enable the defence counsel peruse the charges since three of them were served in court.
Counsel to Chimezie, Mr Chukwudi Igwe, prayed the court to order the transfer of his client from the custody of the Department of State Security Services, (DSS), to Kuje Prison.
He also asked the court for an adjournment in order to discuss with his client since he had been unable to reach him since his incarceration by the DSS.
Justice Binta Nyako made the order and adjourned the matter until March 22 for the prosecution to call its witnesses.
Justice Nyako maintained that the trial was not going to be a secret trial but that the identity of witnesses would be protected from the public.
The charge read in part: “That you, Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi and Nnamdi Kanu (at large), in 2014 and 2015, in Nigeria and London, conspired to broadcast on Radio Biafra, monitored in Enugu and other areas within the jurisdiction of this court, for states in the South-East and South-South zones, and other communities in Kogi and Benue, to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a view to constitute same into a Republic of Biafra, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, of 2004.
“That you, Bright Chimezie and one Nnamdi Kanu, now at large, between March and April, 2015, imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulusiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra , within the jurisdiction of this court, a radio transmitter known as TRAM 50L, concealed in a container of used household items, which you declared as used household items, and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 47 (2) (a) of the Criminal Code Act, of 2004.
“That you, Benjamin Madubugwu sometime in Oct. 2015, had in your possession, in your house at Ubulusiuzor in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra, one Emerald Magnum Pump Action gun and one Delta Magnum Pump Action gun as well as 41 catridges/ammunition without lawful authority or license, an offence contrary to Section 27c (b) (1) of Firearms Act, Act.”(NAN)