01 December, 2016
ABUJA--The leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was today 1 December 2016, arraigned at the Federal High Court, Abuja, as adjourned on 17 November 2016 for ruling on bail application. As predicted by Biafrans, the rule of man prevailed over the rule of law today at the Nigerian local court.
Nnamdi Kanu arrived the high court at exactly 09:55am with the other 3 co-accused persons: Mazi David Nwawuisi represented by Barr Maxwell, Mazi Benjamin Madubugwu represented by Barr Mrs Nwankwo and Chidiebere Onwudiwe represented by Barr I. Adoga.
Shortly after Kanu's arrival, the presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako arrived the court at 09:58am; the case was called up immediately by the court clerk after which both the defendants' and prosecution counsels (led by Shuaibu Labaran) introduced themselves.
Ruling on the bail application, Justice Binta hastily concluded that kanu will not be granted bail (as instructed by Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigerian president in a media chat). She also cited that according to the constitution, "when a person is charged with felony, it is believed that the person must have committed an offense."
After reading previous ground posited by the defendants' lawyers applied bail (which included United Nations' Charter on rights to self-determination), Binta argued that it will be improper to grant bail to those with similar charges.
The presiding judge also presented the prosecution's exhibit ppf1 and ppf2 against the first defendant (Nnamdi Kanu) and the second defendant (David Nwawuisi) and likened it to that of Asari Dokubo who was denied bail on similar grounds.
Binta, who seemed more like the prosecution counsel than presiding judge, maintained that granting the defendants bail will lead to intimidation of witnesses in the course of the trial and evasion of trial as Buhari had alleged. On this, Counsel to the first defendant, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, argued that his client will not jump bail if granted; noting that it is their right to seek for such relief from the court.
Ejiofor also stated that the prosecution has no evidence to prove or substantiate the charges leveled against Nnamdi Kanu while he maintained that IPOB activities which has largely been peaceful and are within the context of the law cannot be likened to Asari Dokubo's case or the Boko Haram sect. Barr Ejiofor relied on Sub Section 6(5) of the constitution as a procedure to be followed on granting Nnamdi Kanu bail.
Delivering her final judgment, Binta ruled that "the offenses leveled against the defendants are grievous and would not be granted bail". She went further to say that the trial will proceed immediately in not later than 1 or 2 months.
At this point, the prosecution counsel demanded that his witnesses be masked ahead of trial. Barr Nwankwo stood against this demand, charging that the defendants need more protection than the prosecution's witnesses; but Binta ruled that it is within the court's discretion to decide whether or not to allow masked witnesses. She then slated 13th December, 2016, for a hearing on application to allow masked witnesses as pleaded by the prosecuting counsel.
Recall that Nnamdi Kanu was granted bail by the Magistrate Court on 19 October 2015, and was ordered to be released UNCONDITIONALLY on 17 December 2015 at the Federal High Court Abuja by Justice Adeniyi Ademola (who has since been under intense prosecution by the federal government of Nigeria). Yet, today's court rulings were all made in disregard of those standing court orders.
Chukwuemeka Chimerue, Anyikwa Cynthia
And Ejike Ofoegbu, Reporting From Abuja.
Published By Nwosu C.S
For Biafra Writers