12.30 Lagos - Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have cancelled a planned protest scheduled to hold in Lagos on Thursday.
The protesters had planned to visit some embassies and the United Nations offices in Lagos to registered their displeasure with the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu by the Department of State Services (DSS).
They decided to put the protest on hold following Wednesday’s ruling of a magistrate court, which struck out the case against Kanu, after the prosecutors withdrew criminal charges against him.
Their decision to suspend the protest was on Thursday further reinforced when a Federal High in Abuja ordered the immediate release of Kanu from the DSS detention.
In the ruling on Thursday, Justice Ademola who had in October granted permission to the DSS to detain Kanu for 90 days set aside the order.
According to him, the continued detention of Kanu after two months without trial violates Section 158 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 and Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.
Justice Ademola also said that there was no law that permits the DSS or any other security agency to detain any Nigerian beyond two months when in actual fact there was no intention to put the person on trial.
He held that the continued detention of Kanu by the DSS without trial was unlawful.
11.59 Massive crowd jubilating outside the court premises.
11.53 A Federal High Court in Abuja just ordered the immediate release of Kanu.
Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who gave the order, said it was illegal for the DSS to still be holding Kanu after an order of the court to free him.
11.52 More policemen arrive and are busy patrolling the area.
11:31 Motorists were searched before they are allowed to enter the street.
Similar heavy persecutory presence was also noticed at the United Nations offices on Alfred Rewane Road, Ikoyi,
Thursday’ s planned protest is a follow up to their protest on Wednesday in Nigeria’s largest electronics market, the Alaba International Market in the Ojo Local Government of Lagos
The IPOB members are protesting the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu by the Department of State Security Service (DSS) in Abuja.
The protesters are also demanding a separate state for the Igbo people of southeast which fought a brutal civil war with Nigerian federal forces from 1967 to 1970.
11:31 Lagos - In anticipation of a potential protest by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in some embassies and the UN offices in Lagos, the Nigerian government has intensified security presence and measures around these embassies and UN offices.
This decision came following information that members of IPOB plan to storm the embassies on Thursday to deliver their petition against the Nigerian government.
Soldiers and mobile police personnel were seen within the vicinity of the United State embassy and United Kingdom High Commission on Walter Carrington Crescent in Victoria Island.
11:24 Punch reports that a Federal High Court is set to make a ruling on today (Thursday) on an application by Kanu, asking for bail.
According to the report, Kanu in the application, also wants the court to set aside an order permitting the DSS to remand him for 90 days in the first instance, pending the conclusion of the investigation on terrorism and terrorism financing allegations against him.
11:23 According to the Nigerian Voice, the protest was heavy around Alaba International Electronics Market, where majority of traders are Igbos from eastern Nigeria.
The traders shut down shops and restricted vehicular movement in the area, leaving motorists groaning in the heavy traffic build-up.The protesters said they would continue their protests until their demands are met.
“We have been pushed into protesting. Why will the government continue the persecution of the Director of Radio Biafra, Mr Nnamdi Kanu. People have the right to voice out their opinion. He was not a threat at all,” one of the protesters, Anayo was quoted as saying.
11:23 Reports on Wednesday indicated that traffic in Ojo area of Lagos State was brought to a standstill as hundreds of pro-Biafra supporters took to the streets in continuation of their protest for the actualisation of the state of Biafra and the unconditional dismissal of the charges of terrorism against the director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
11:22 According to AFP:
A Nigerian court on Wednesday struck out the case against Kanu, after the prosecutors withdrew criminal charges against him.
He was, however, still held by the Department of State Services (DSS), the country's secret police.
"The accused person is hereby discharged and the case is struck out," Chief Magistrate Shuaibu Usman said.
Kanu was not in court for the ruling.
The protests have seen the leader of the pro-Biafra activists, Nnamdi Kanu, being arrested.
Kanu was detained in October and his arrest sparked a wave of protests across the southeast.
He was charged with criminal conspiracy and intimidation, as well as membership of an illegal organisation, in the magistrate court in Abuja.
Kanu is the director of Radio Biafra, which the government has accused of being "seditious" and of broadcasting "hate speech", and a founder of the banned Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) group.
The protesters are demanding a separate state for the Igbo people of southeast which fought a brutal civil war with Nigerian federal forces from 1967 to 1970.
The conflict which left at least one million dead mainly from starvation and disease, was sparked when Biafran leaders unilaterally declared independence from Nigeria.
Pro-Biafra protesters are set to visit several embassies, high commissions, as well as Amnesty International and UN offices in Lagos on Thursday to deliver their petition.
This is a follow-up to their protest on Wednesday in Alba area of the state.
- News24 Nigeria