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Nigerian court reserves judgement on separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu, postpones hearing

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In Nigeria, the Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja has reserved its judgment against the appeal filed by the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, challenging the 7-count charge brought against him by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The bench led by Justice Jummai Hannatu refused to quash the terrorism and treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against Kanu.

Recall that a federal court in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, had dismissed eight of the 15 terror charges against Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of a separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Kanu’s team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, had approached the appellate court to query the legal competence of the charge pending against him.

Ozekhome argued before the court that Kanu was on holiday according to the terms of his bail before he was unlawfully attacked by the state’s agent and was eventually illegally extradited.

“My lords, he was enjoying this bail without breaching the terms. However, he was in his ancestral home when agents of the Respondent invaded his home in September 2017. He barely escaped alive by sheer providence and found himself first in Isreal and later in London.

“When the Appellant travelled from London to Kenya, agents of the Respondents, on June 27, 2021, forcefully abducted the Appellant, tortured and renditioned him back to the country without following any extradition process”, Ozekhome submitted.

“This allegation of his forceful abduction and rendition was never denied by the Respondent.

Meanwhile, FG, through its lawyer, Mr. David Kaswe, urged the court to dismiss the appeal for want of merit. He maintained that the IPOB leader was brought back to the country by due process of the law.

The panel after it had listened to both sides, said it would communicate a date for the judgment.

Nigeria has had a number of separatist agendas spring up since her political independence in 1960, but the cry for self-determination amongst various ethnic-based groups has been more amplified in the heterogeneous West African country since the current President Muhamadu Buhari came into power in 2015.

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Sudan War: Gen. Al-Burhan says he’s ready for peace talks

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Sudan’s Army Chief, Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan says he is now open for peace talks that could bring the war in the country to an end.

Before the surprise announcement on Friday, Al-Burhan had maintained a non-compromising stance and had refused all entreaties to enter into negotiations with his former number two man and main rival, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the leader of the Rapid Support Force (RSF).

However, Al-Burhan, in a statement in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), said he had not sought military support on a recent regional tour and that his preference was for a peaceful solution to the conflict that has killed thousands and displaced millions of civilians.

“Every war ends in peace, whether through negotiations or force. We are proceeding on those two paths, and our preferred path is the path of negotiations,” Al-Burhan said.

Al-Burhan added that he believed that talks by Saudi Arabia and the United States in Jeddah which were stalled could still succeed.

In recent weeks, Al-Burhan has made a series of foreign visits after remaining holed up in Sudan for the first few months of the war, often sending representatives for talks.

In one of his visits to Cairo, Egypt, the Army Chief had said the purpose was to seek solutions and not military support, though he had asked other states to block external help that he claimed the RSF was receiving.

“We asked our neighbors to help us monitor the borders to stop the flow of mercenaries,” he had said.

The Sudan war which broke out between the army and the RSF in April 15 over plans for a political transition and the integration of the RSF into the army, has seen thousands of civilians killed and millions of others forced to flee the country.

Several ceasefire agreements entered into by the warring factions have been breached with both sides trading blames on their culpability, while previous claims by both sides that they want peace have failed to stop bloodshed.

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Nigeria’s Presidency apologises for UNGA goof

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The Nigerian Presidency has apologised over a blunder it made when announcing that President Bola Tinubu was the first African leader to ring the bell at the close of trade at the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation System (NASDAQ) in the United States.

Tinubu had, on Wednesday, rang the closing bell at the NASDAQ headquarters in New York City on the sidelines of the 78th edition of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and used the opportunity to advance his foreign investment push in front of financial markets at the famous stock exchange.

“It’s a great honour for me to be here. I am happy to bring Nigeria to your doorsteps and I am honoured that we are here, today, with a bubbling Nigerian stock market that will evolve in the West African sub-region,” he said.

‘’The greatest economy in Africa is Nigeria. There is an immense opportunity in Nigeria, where you can invest your money without fear,” the president added.

Shortly after the ringing of the bell, the Presidency released a statement claiming that Tinubu had entered the history books as the first leader of an African country to get the honour of ringing the NASDAQ bell.

“In honour of President Bola Tinubu’s determined global push to aggressively attract foreign direct investment into Nigeria.

“The world’s second largest stock exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation System (NASDAQ), on Wednesday in the world’s financial capital, invited President Tinubu to ring the closing bell. Making him the first African President to ever receive the honour,” the statement, issued by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale said.

However, following a backlash, and fact-finding by Nigerians and media outlets that revealed that Tinubu was not the first African leader to ring the bell, the presidency, in a statement on Friday, retracted its claim and tendered an apology.

In the apology issued by Ngelale, the presidency said it later found out that a former African leader had previously rung the bell at NASDAQ, thereby debunking the initial claim of Tinubu’s historic achievement.

“We inadvertently referred to President Bola Tinubu as the first African leader to ring the bell at NASDAQ on Wednesday in New York, based on the information provided by a third-party event organiser.

“We have since found out that this information was/is incorrect as a former African leader has indeed had the privilege. This error is sincerely regretted,” the statement said.

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