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Saturday, 14 April 2018

IPOB Trial: Court hears bail application of Kanu's co-defendants, adjourns ruling till May 21
















• I'm tired of hearing the sound of your voices — Judge blasts defence counsels

By Chikwas Onu Ikpe
For Biafra Writers

April 14, 2018

ABUJA— An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, on Friday, heard the bail application of Biafra activist, Mr. Bright Chimezie who replaced leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu as the first defendant, and 'notarized' the move for bail applications of the other three defendants standing trial alongside on treasonable felony charges.

The court proceedings began at exactly 12:15pm, shortly after the arrival of the defence counsels, Barristers Chukwudi Igwe, E. A. N. Ejiofor, Esere, and Chukwuma Ozugwu (who was standing in for Barrister Maxwell Okpara), and the Prosecution counsel, Shuaibu M. Labaran.

Recall that the day was hitherto slated for hearing the bail applications of the quartet defendants, but the courtroom was filled with perplexity when the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Binta Nyako, on objection of the Prosecution, selected to hear the bail application of only the first defendant, Mr. Bright Chimezie.

"My Lord, before this court are two separate applications; one is seeking the bail of the four defendants, while the other one is challenging the competence of the two charges preferred against the same.

Read Also: BIAFRA: [COURT UPDATE]: COURT HEARS BAIL APPLICATION OF DETAINED IPOB ACTIVISTS

"If you can get, both applications are very important that they are heard today because both seek the bail of the four defendants. The first one is asking for bail so that he will be released, having been in custody for over two years, particularly in an underground cell," Chukwudi Igwe, counsel to the first defendant informed the court.

Similarly, Counsel to the fourth defendant, Mr David Nwawuisi, joined issues via a written application, prompting the court to strike out the charges slandered against his client.

He said, "My Lord, I have a written application for bail of the fourth defendant, dated and filed on February 13, 2018 as well as an application filed on March 23, 2018, challenging the court to strike out the charge levelled against the same."

Howbeit, the court would have ordinarily heard the entire bail applications, owing to the emphasis it laid on the last adjourned date, that "all pending applications would be disposed off" on Friday.

Read Also: We Demand Justice and Fairness; IPOB to Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako

Also, in his motion, the Prosecution counsel, Mr Labaran, told the court that they are yet to file responses to the other application, and also the bail applications filed by the defence lawyers to the three other defendants. Hence, applied for time in order to respond to their respective applications.

In his words: "My Lord, the reason we are here is for the court to hear the bail application of the first defendant, not of the preliminary objection that had been filed before this court. We have substantive date for this matter. So, we urge this court to concentrate on the business of today."

Following several arguments by the defence counsels on the basis of hearing the bail applications of their clients, Justice Nyako declined hearing the bail applications of the other three defendants; saying she would not accede to oral applications.

Read Also: Nnamdi Kanu: Hold Nwodo, Army responsible for murder of agitators – IPOB leaders

The trial judge noted that, "What I'm saying is that I will stick to the bail application of the first defendant. I will oblige you to only move a bail application then allow them (Prosecution) to respond. In this court, I take bail applications formally. I don't take oral bail applications. If you want me to hear your bail applications, then you file it."

Reacting to the move of bail applications as okayed by the court, counsel to the third defendant, E. A. N. Ejiofor, Benjamin Madubugwu, in a written address, adopted as an oral submission, enunciated three reasons why his client should be granted bail after hearing his bail application in the course of time; pleading the court to also make an order restricting the Nigerian military and other security agencies from nearing or invading the homestead of his client without the backing of court orders.

"My Lord, I wouldn't want to bore you but urge you to liberally grant bail to the third defendant, on the grounds of his ill-health condition. Secondly, for the time spent by the third defendant which has almost consumed the entire period the witness might have risen. Lastly, in the grant of good behaviour.

"Furthermore, My Lord, upon granting bail to my client, make orders restricting the Nigerian army and the DSS operatives from invading his house."



However, the judge retorted, and gave her ruling, obliging the prosecution counsel time to respond to the bail applications of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants.

"You see, you are already getting me tired, and you know today is Friday. I have just released my registrar to go for prayers and you have made me miss my own prayers.

"You people like to augment the sound of your voices. I'm tired of hearing the sound of your voices, I have heard them severally.

"I have given you notice. The Prosecution should be given time to respond to these applications. It is upon acknowledgement that I shall reply or counter the said applications,” she stated.

Resultantly, the Court adjourned till May 21, 2018 (being the same day the substantive trial had been fixed for hearing), to reply the bail applications of the three other defendants pending the response of the Prosecution, and a final ruling on the bail application of the first defendant.


THE BIAFRA TIMES
Editor: Chukwuemeka M. Chimerue 
Publisher: Chijindu Benjamin Ukah
Contact us: [email protected]

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