Alleged terrorism: Lagos Begins Trial of Eze Ndigbo Wednesday

Frederick Nwajagu, Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate, Lagos

The Lagos High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) today, fixed Wednesday to commence the trial of the Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate, Lagos, Frederick Nwajagu for alleged terrorism.

Justice Yetunde Adesanya fixed the date following the absence of Nwajagu’s counsel.

Nwajagu, 67, was arrested in April by the Department of State Services (DSS) over an alleged threat to invite members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to Lagos to secure properties of Igbo people in the state.

On May 9, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice Mr. Moyo Onigbanjo arraigned the defendant on a nine-count charge bordering on the alleged offence in a suit marked LD/21505C/2023.

Onigbanjo was represented by Mr. Jonathan Ogunsanya (a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Justice).

The nine counts include “Attempt to do acts of terrorism under Section 403(2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015; participation in a terrorism meeting to support a proscribed entity, attempt to finance an act of terrorism and preparation to commit an act of terrorism under Sections 12(c), 18, 21, 29 & 12(a) of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act, 2022,” amongst others.

Nwajagu had pleaded not guilty.

Justice Adesanya had adjourned till today for commencement of trial.

At the resumption of proceedings today, the prosecution counsel announced his presence but there was no legal representative for the defendant.

When asked by the court about his counsel, Nwajagu said he was surprised about the absence.

He said the lawyer promised to be in court alongside his junior.

Justice Adesanya consequently adjourned

till July 5 for trial.

On April 5, a Chief Magistrates’ Court in Sabo, Yaba, remanded Nwajago for allegedly threatening to bring the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the state.

Chief Magistrate Peter Nwaka ordered that the defendant be kept at the Ikoyi Custodial Facility for 30 days, pending advice from the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Nwajagu was held on a temporary charge of conspiracy and breach of public peace.

His plea was not taken.

Prosecuting Mr. Thomas Nurudeen a Superintendent of Police, told the court that Nwajagu and some others at large committed the alleged offences on March 26, 2023, at No. 2, Akeem Shittu Street, Ajao Estate, Lagos State.

Nurudeen alleged that Nwajagu put fear in Lagos residents when he threatened to bring IPOB to the state.

He submitted that Nwajagu publicly announced that IPOB would shut down Lagos State for one month.

According to Nurudeen, the alleged offences contravene sections 168 (d) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.