The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, refused the appeal filed by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Kanu and two others have filed the appeal to be released from detention on the ground that the method adopted by a Federal High Court in Abuja, to trial them was strange.
The two others standing trial with Kanu are David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu.
In a unanimous judgment on Wednesday, a three-man panel of Justices of the Appeal Court led by Justice Abdul Aboki, dismissed th defendants’ appeal as “grossly lacking in merit”.
The appellate court further declined to order the release of the defendants on bail on the premise that allegations against them are “grievous and serious”.
Justice Aboki who read the lead judgment, said it was not in doubt the 1st defendant, Kanu, has dual citizenship.
He said Kanu’s possession of both Nigerian and British passports increased the likelihood that he could jump bail if released from detention.
On the procedure adopted by the trial court, the appeal court panel maintained that Justice Tsoho had the discretion to decide how the proceeding should be conducted.
“The lower court has the power to exercise its discretion on the matter and the exercise of such discretion by the trial Judge did not amount to denial of fair hearing to the defendants.
“The issues are resolved against the appellants. Ruling of the trial court is hereby upheld”, the appellate court held, the Judge said.
Kanu and his co-defendants, through their lawyer Chief Chuks Muoma, SAN, argured before the appellate court that trial Justice John Tsoho of a Feferal High Court in Abuja, erred in law “when having refused the application for the witnesses of the prosecution to testified behind screens, or masked” on February 19, 2016, “suddenly varied the said order in the ruling delivered on March 7, 2016, on a mere oral application by the respondent”.
They argured trial Justice Tsoho was biased against them for not only declining to grant them bail, but also permitted the prosecution to shield the identity of eight witnesses billed to testify in the matter.
Justice Tsoho had equally rejected application praying him to discharge and acquit the three defendants in line with section 351(1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
Kanu and others are standing trial for treasonable felony