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Court To Rule On Nnamdi Kanu’s Bail Application March 19



The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has fixed March 19 to rule on a fresh application the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, filed to be released on bail, pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him.

The court said it would equally resume full-blown hearing of the case against Kanu the next day, March 20.

Trial Justice Binta Nyako adjourned the matter after she listened to Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Alloy Ejimakor and the prosecution counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN.

Ejimakor had after the case was called up for trial, drew the attention of the court to Kanu’s bail application dated February 5.

He further told the court that his client had also filed a preliminary objection to challenge the competence of the charge pending against him.

The defence counsel urged the court to grant Kanu bail on “most liberal terms” owing to his deteriorating health.

He said there was no dispute that the IPOB leader has a serious heart condition that was confirmed by federal government owned hospital.

“Our humble submission is that the medical condition of the defendant speaks for itself and the health challenge persists, despite the treatment offered him by the detaining authority,” Ejimako added.

He maintained that Kanu’s continued detention by the Department of State Services, DSS, posed a threat to his life.

Besides, Ejimakor alleged that the delay in the prosecution of the embattled IPOB leader was the fault of the government which he said had repeatedly amended the charge.

On the court’s observation that Kanu once jumped bail, Ejimako, argued that developments that happened in the past had turned academic in view of findings and judgements of various courts on the matter.

On the preliminary objection dated February 19, Kanu’s counsel urged the court to direct that before the trial could commence, the respondents must refrain from, seizing documents from lawyers, stopping lawyers from taking notes during their visit to the defendant at the DSS and equally eavesdropping on conversation with Kanu.

He further urged the court to order that the prosecution l must stop the violation of his client’s right.

Alternatively, he sought an order that before commencement of trial, a non-custodial centre be created for Kanu to engage with lawyers of his own choice.

Meanwhile, FG’s lawyer, Chief Awomolo, SAN, opposed both Kanu’s fresh bail application and his preliminary objection which he described as an abuse of court process.

FG’s lawyer argued that it would be wrong for the court to allow Kanu’s counsel to disctate how the proceedings should be conducted.

He said it was an insult for Kanu’s lawyer to list what must be done before the trial would commence, adding that the defendant’s rights were never breached by the DSS.

Awomolo, SAN, told the court that the security agency has been diligent in protecting Kanu’s life.

He urged the court to reject Kanu’s request for bail and order accelerated hearing of the case.

According to the prosecution counsel, Section 161 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, stipulated that the defendant must prove that the authorities failed to grant him access to quality healthcare at his detention center.

The senior lawyer contended that there was nothing tangible that was brought before the court to establish the exceptional circumstance that would warrant Kanu’s release on bail.

He said the court had earlier revoked the defendant’s bail after he violated the conditions attached to it.

“There is no evidence before the court that Kanu will not jump bail again,” Awomolo insisted.

Earlier in the proceedings, Justice Nyako expressed her displeasure over how the trial had been conducted since 2015.

“This is exactly the way this case has been going since 2015. I am talking to both sides. You always find a way to truncate the proceedings,” Justice Nyako fumed.

The IPOB leader, who was first arrested by security agents in Lagos on October 14, 2015, has been in detention since June 29, 2021.

Trial Justice Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health ground, after he had spent about 18 months in detention.

Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison.

However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his country home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the death of some of his followers.

Kanu was later re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021 and extraordinarily renditioned back to the country by security agents on June 27, 2021.

Following the development, the trial court, on June 29, 2021, remanded him in custody of the Department of State Services, DSS, where he remained till date.

On April 8, 2022, the court struck out eight out of the 15-count charge that FG preferred against him on the premise that they lacked substance.

Likewise, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s immediate release from detention even as it quashed the charge against him.

The appellate ourt said it was satisfied that FG flagrantly violated all known laws, when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.

It held that such arbitrary use of power by the Nigerian government, divested the trial court of the jurisdiction to further try the Appellant.

Dissatisfied with the decision, FG took the matter before the Supreme Court, even as it persuaded the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgement, pending the determination of its appeal.

While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court, on December 15, 2023, vacated the judgement of the appellate court and gave FG the nod to proceed with the trial.