Massob Leader, Uwazuruike, 6 Others Face Death Penalty As Supreme Court Orders Their Trial For Treason

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Founder and leader of the pro-Igbo Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) Chief Ralph Uwazuruike and six other leaders of the group risk death penalty with an order from the Supreme court yesterday  that they should be tried for treason.

Uwazuruike and the others had since 2005 when they were first arraigned by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration been fighting hard to stop their trial for treason, a move that eventually collapsed at the supreme court today years after the court of appeal equally dismissed their objection to their trial on May 15, 2008. Others facing treason charges with Uwazuruike include Ambrose Anyaso, Augustine Ihuoma, Chibuike Nwosu, Benedict Alakwem, Kelechi Ubabuike and Chimankpa Okorocha. They were first charged at a Federal High Court in Abuja on November 8, 2005 on a four-count charge of conspiracy, treason, belonging to a militant group – MASSOB Army, and belonging to an unlawful society -MASSOB.


Delivering the unanimous judgement of a five man panel yesterday , Justice Bode Rhodes-Vivour in the lead judgment noted that the appeal filed on behalf of Uwazuruike and others  by Festus Keyamo amounts to  ”a waste of precious judicial time since all the information imaginable that the appellants would need for their appeal has been available to them before they appealed to the Court of Appeal.”

“Though the appellants are not entitled to know the nature of evidence against them, the learned trial judge ordered the nature of evidence (information) served on the appellants, and this was done before their appeal in the Court of Appeal. The argument that the charge should be dismissed because it was not accompanied by proof of evidence is a mere technicality designed to defeat the course of justice. In the light of the fact that the proof of evidence has been filed and is available to the appellants, trial should proceed with dispatch. The result is that the two issues urged in this appeal, on behalf of the appellants, fail and the appeal must fail as there is no merit”, the supreme court ruled yesterday .

Analysts believe that the treason trial of the MASSOB seven may further dwindle the diminishing support President Jonathan may get from the Igbos for his 2015 presidential ambition.

Source: Ireports

2 COMMENTS

  1. Boko Haram has been ravaging the country with unbridled disdain for constituted authority without consequence. Instead our man in Abuja wants to negotiate and grant amnesty to a group that has professed through their action that the Nigerian government does not exist and that if it does, that they Boko Haram are outside the jurisdiction of such government.
    MASSOB has never been a violent group and has never taken up arm against anyone be it military or civilian.
    If the supreme court sees it fit to sentence these men to death, then a bloody insurrection worse than anything Nigeria has ever seen will be unleashed on Nigeria. It will be the recipe for a violent break up of that country or the declaration of a wild wild west in Nigeria.
    I just want to be patient enough to see Jonathan preside over a country where non-violent men are sentenced to death and he sits back and does nothing. And then he can be guaranteed a third term that Obasanjo could not achieve.

  2. What kind of injustice is this? MASSOB is non-violent and they have freedom of speech. The world will now know how the Igbos are being hated in Nigeria. Those non-Igbos carrying armunitions and at present, killing the Igbos are given amnesty, but a group of non-violent Igbos are being arrested for treason because they say they are tired of the people being killed every time in Nigeria and as such wants to leave Nigeria for a place of safety. Is that a CRIME?

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