A  Federal High Court Sitting in Abuja has denied Nnamdi Kanu leader
of the Indegenous Peoples of Biafra bail. Kanu’s case was decided by
Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court,
Thursday, December 1.
Justice Nyako declined to release the detained leader of the IPOB
leader on bail. Nyako equally refused bail applications made by three
other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin
Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, who are facing trial alongside Kanu. the
four defendants who are answering to an 11-count charge bordering on
treasonable felony and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism,
had through their lawyers, pleaded the court to release them on bail
pending the determination of the charge against them. Their separate
bail applications were predicated on sections 158, 162 of the
Administration of Criminal Justice Act, as well as section 35 and 36
of the 1999 constitution, as amended.
The defendants contended that charges against them were not only bail
able offences, but also not felony punishable with death. Arguing that
the presumption of innocence under the Nigerian constitution was in
their favour, the defendants said their release from detention would
enable them to properly defend the charge against them. Besides, they
insisted that their right to self determination was guaranteed both by
the Nigeria constitution and Article 20 of the Africa Charter on
Peoples and Human Right. They maintained that IPOB which they said has
been registered in over 30 countries, has not been proscribed or
declared as a dangerous organisation under any law. They defendants
expressed their readiness to produce reasonable sureties before the
court. However, FG, vehemently opposed release of any of the
defendants on bail. Government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the
court that the defendants would constitute “a threat to national
security”, once freed from prison custody.
Labaran, who further applied to the court for protection of witnesses
billed to testify against the defendants, drew attention of the court
to the fact that the 1st defendant, Kanu, has dual citizenship.

He argued that Kanu who he said has both Nigerian and British
passports, would escape out of the country if released on bail. While
praying the court to allow the defendants to attend their trial from
Kuje prison, FG, stressed that Onwudiwe was a major threat, saying he
was the only one facing a particular count of “preparatory to commit
an act of terrorism”. Meanwhile, in her ruling, Justice Nyako, held
that charge against the defendants “are very serious in nature”, and
therefore not ordinarily bailable. “Irrespective of what the charge
is, the court has to exercise its discretion on way or the other”, the
Judge held, adding that some of the charges against the defendants
could attract life imprisonment if proved by FG. Justice Nyako also
dismissed contention by the defendants that President Muhammadu Buhari
had openly directed that they should not be released on bail. The
Judge held that President Buhari, being a citizen of Nigeria, was at
liberty to exercise his freedom of speech. She maintained that the
President lacks the capacity to influence the decision of the court,
saying the defendants did not place any new fact or law capable of
persuading the court to reverse an earlier ruling of the court that
denied them bail.

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