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Alleged terrorism: Eze Ndi Igbo claims ignorance of law prohibiting association with IPOB



The Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate, Lagos, Frederick Nwajagu, charged with terrorism on Monday said he did not know there was a law prohibiting a person from mentioning the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria.

Nwajagu said this while giving evidence before a Lagos High Court at Tafawa Balewa Square.

Nwajagu is standing trial on a nine-count bordering on an attempt to commit acts of terrorism, financing terrorism, participating in terrorism and meeting to support a proscribed entity.

On the resumed hearing on Monday, the defendant was led in evidence by his counsel, Mr Emefo Etudo.

The defendant told the court that he had never referred to himself as a king but a leader to the Igbo-speaking people in Ajao Estate.

He said the video shown to the court where he was talking was not the original video but an edited one.

Nwajagu noted that what he said in his house was an empty threat made to calm the Igbo down.

“After the 2023 elections, some people came to my house.

I gave them drinks and I made the statement believing that there is freedom of speech and association in Nigeria.

“I have no connection with IPOB,” he said.

The defendant was cross examined by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins.

The defendant told the court that when he was interrogated at the Department of State Services (DSS) office, he informed the DSS that he had no relationship with IPOB.

Nwajagu repeated that he was not the person that recorded the video.

“I made the statement that went viral because of the Igbo people whose shops were looted and burnt including what MC Oluomo said against the Igbos in Lagos.

“I made a second video while at Panti Police station denouncing the first video.

“I regret making the first speech because I didn’t know there is a law prohibiting people from mentioning IPOB.”

After the cross examination, his counsel urged the court to release the defendant on bail.

He said the prosecution had closed its case and the nature of the prosecution’s evidence should not counter the bail application.

The prosecution, however, urged the court to reject the bail application.

After all the argument on bail application, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, adjourned until March 26, for ruling on bail application.

Adesanya also told the parties to file all their written addresses since the defence had already closed its case.

She also gave April 16, for adoption of final written addresses.

Our correspondent reports that the defendant had on July 25, 2023 applied for bail, citing his medical reports, adding that he was not a flight risk.

NEWSVERGE recalls that on July 28, 2023, the court had refused the bail application, based on the seriousness of the offence and the severity of its punishment.

The Lagos State Government had in a suit marked no: LD/21505C/2023, alleged that the defendant’s acts contravened the provisions of Section 403(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

The state stated that the offences also contravened Sections 12(a) (c), 18, 21 and 29 of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act, 2022.

NEWSVERGE reports that Nwajagu was arrested by operatives of the DSS over an alleged threat to invite members of IPOB to Lagos to secure properties of Igbo people in the state.

Chinyere Omeire

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.



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