Update: Court Grants IPOB Leader, Kanu Conditional Bail to Bond of N300m

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday granted the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (POB), Nnamdi Kanu bail in the sum of N100m and three sureties in like sum, making a total sum of N300m.
The three other defendants were not so lucky as the court refused them bail.
Justice Binta Nyako, the trial Judge, while delivering a ruling on the bail application filed by counsel to Kanu, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, held that the IPOB leader obviously has health issues and that she was granting the bail on health grounds.
Giving conditions for the bail, Justice Nyako said Kanu must depose to an affidavit that he will be available in court to face his trial.
Other conditions in granting of bail to the IPOB leader was that, he must not grant press interview, he must not organise or attend a rally and must not be found in a crowd of more than 10 people.
The Judge said one of the sureties must be a highly respected person of Igbo extraction, such as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Justice Nyako said another of the surety must be a highly respected religious leader, Jewish leader, when Kanu said he was of Judaism religion.
The Judge also said the third surety must be a person of integrity and a resident of Abuja.
The Judge also ordered the IPOB leader to deposit his International Passport with the court, explaining that if Kanu’s travel document is with the security agency, it should transferred to the court as part of bail conditions for the IPOB leader.
On the application to unmask witnesses, Justice Nyako said nothing new in the application.
She said she would not make blanket order on the shielding of witnesses, rather security operatives should be protected and shielded while giving evidence.
“I will need monthly report of the health condition of the 1st defendant (Kanu)”, Justice Nyako stated adding that Kanu based his bail application on health grounds.
She said Kanu’s health challenge cannot be handled by the medical facilities at the Kuje prison.
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, who was in court, as early as 9: am hugged and had a brief chat with Kanu before the court started sitting..
After the session, Fayose said he was in court in solidarity with the Biafra leader.
He added that Kanu will one day walk as a free man in the country.
“The country belongs to all of us. The oppression must not continue, Kanu must keep hope alive because one day he would be free. I have come to identify with Igbo nation. I know one day Kanu will walk into freedom without condition”
The matter was adjourned till July 11 and 12, 2017 for commencement of trial, while the Judge warned that she will no longer entertain frivolities by way of interlocutory injunctions when the trial fully begins.
Kanu, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi are currently facing an amended six-count charge slammed against them by the federal government.
At the last adjourned date, April 6, counsel to Kanu, Ejiofor, argued that since terrorism charge has been struck out, among others, against the defendants there was need to review the ruling which gave the prosecution the right to shield witnesses and the same time grant his client bail. .
He averred that terrorism act seeks leave to protect witnesses but now that that charge had been struck out from among charges the defendants are been tried, it was necessary for court to set aside the order of December 13, 2016.
“An accused who is not standing trial on offences not mentioned in that section can be tried in the open court.”
Counsel to the third defendant, Emmanuel Esene, cited section 36 (4) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, saying defendants standing trial on criminal cases should be tried in open court.
“When the order was made (to shield witnesses) , terrorism charge was included now that my Lordship struck out terrorism charge against the defendants, that order should be vacated”, he said.
Also arguing along the same line, Chukwuma Ozougwu, counsel to the fourth defendant, urged the court to note that everybody before the court was equal and should be treated equally.
He queried: “On what basis is the prosecution opposing the application for open trial? The prosecution counsel has not given enough reasons why my application should be refused. No basis, no foundation for opposing the application. Justice should not only seen to be done but should not also be clouded in darkness. For interest of justice, I urge the court to grant my application”, Ogougwu held.
However, prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran urged the court to dismiss the defendants’ application, adding “it is frivolous, lacking in merit and an attempt to slow down the progress of the case.”
He drew the attention of the court to Section 232 (4) of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act which gives a judge discretionary power under which the December 13 order (to shield witnesses) was made.
He held if the court should the order review, the defendants would have succeeded in making incursion into the Judge’s discretionary power.

Author: News Editor

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