Friday, November 18, 2016
ABUJA— Justice Hajiya Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday adjourned ruling to December 1 to decide on a bail application filed by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The court said it would also consider the merit of separate bail applications sought by three other defendants facing trial alongside the IPOB leader.
While Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor is representing Nnamdi Kanu in the suit, Barristers Innocent Adoga, Innocent E. Efeme and Maxwell Okpara, was standing-in for Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi respectively.
The four defendants are answering to a 6-count charges bordering on treasonable felony, management of an unlawful society, unlawful possession of firearms and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism. Other item in the charge bordered on illegal and violence agitation for a Sovereign State of Biafra.
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The presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako gave the date after counsels to the defendants had argued the joint applications.
“The court has taken judicial notice of the issues canvassed by the counsels. The decision would be made on Dec.1,’’ she held.
Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to the IPOB leader, Kanu, had prayed the court to grant his client and others bail on liberal terms pending the determination of their trial.
Ejiofor, in his submission, pointed out that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of same Federal High Court, Abuja had earlier ordered unconditional release of his client but the order was flouted by the Federal government.
Barr. Ejiofor also displayed other documentary evidence and newspaper publications bearing President Muhammadu Buhari’s statement that Kanu would never be granted bail by any court in Nigeria. He also produced a certified true copy of certificate of incorporation of Radio Biafra championed by Kanu, adding that his client had not done anything wrong against the Nigerian State.
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Ejiofor also disclosed that his client had initiated a contempt proceedings against the Department of State Services (DSS) for refusing to obey the bail order granted to his client by an Abuja High Court.
“What we are saying in essence is that the applicant is a law abiding citizen and not a threat as painted by the Federal Government and its security agencies.
“The applicant is also prepared to stand trial in order to obtain justice. He will not jump the bail when granted,’’ Ejiofor said.
He further prayed the court to also grant bail to Onwudiwe and Madubugwu on liberal terms, adding that they were innocent of the charges brought against them, adding that they won’t jump bail as they are ready to stand for justice.
Counsel to Mr. Onwudiwe, Barrister Innocent Adoga, told the court that his client was still in custody of the DSS, instead of him to be transferred to Kuje prison as ordered by the court.
Adoga, therefore, prayed the court to admit his client to bail on liberal conditions.
However, the Prosecuting counsel to the Federal government, Barrister Shuaibu M. Labaran, while raising an objection to the bail applications sought by the defendants, vehemently opposed their release, insisting that they would constitute “a threat to national security.”
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Labaran urged the court to refuse the applications and order an accelerated hearing in the matter, adding that the activities of the applicants were a threat to national security.
According to him, they have been exposed to illegal weapons in the bid to actualize their dream for a Biafran State.
“My Lord, to be more specific, the firearm licence, which the third defendant/applicant, Chidiebere claimed he had was not issued by the appropriate authority,’’ he said.
After hearing submissions from the parties involved, the trial judge, Justice Nyako adjourned ruling to 1st of December to determine whether or not to grant the defendants bail.
By Chukwuemeka Chimerue
Published By Chijindu Benjamin Ukah
For Biafra Writers