Court denies Nnamdi Kanu’s fresh request for bail

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The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, dismissed the 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.

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Rather, trial Justice Binta Nyako ordered accelerated hearing of FG’s seven-count charge against him.

Kanu had in the application he filed through his team of lawyers led by Mr. Alloy Ejimakor, on February 5, prayed the court to grant him bail on “most liberal terms” owing to his deteriorating health.

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Ejimakor argued that there was no dispute that the IPOB leader has a serious health condition that was confirmed by federal government owned hospital.

Specifically, he disclosed that series of tests that were conducted on Kanu, showed that he was suffering from hypertension and acute heart disease.

“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, adding the freeing the defendant on bail would enable him to effectively prepare his defence to the charge.

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

On the court’s observation that Kanu once jumped bail, Ejimakor argued that the development had become academic in view of findings and judgements of various courts on the issue.

On its part, FG’s lawyer, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, opposed the bail application, insisting that there was no guarantee that Kanu would make himself available for trial, once released from detention.

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

He urged the court to reject the bail request 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 further contended that there was nothing tangible that was brought before the court to establish an 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.

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 court 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 try the IPOB leader on the subsisting seven-count charge.

Justice Nyako had Earl 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,” the judge fumed.

 

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