Embattled leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu has been denied another chance at freedom.
Kanu’s case was decided by Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Thursday, December 1.
Justice Nyako declined to release the detained leader of the IPOB leader on bail and equally refused bail applications made by three other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, who are facing trial alongside Kanu.
It was gathered that the four defendants who are answering to an 11-count charge bordering on treasonable felony and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism, had through their lawyers, pleaded the court to release them on bail pending the determination of the charge against them.
The defendants contended that charges against them were not only bailable offences, but also not felony punishable with death.
They maintained that IPOB which they said has been registered in over 30 countries, has not been proscribed or declared as a dangerous organisation under any law.
The defendants expressed their readiness to produce reasonable sureties before the court.
However, FG, vehemently opposed release of any of the defendants on bail.
Government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that the defendants would constitute “a threat to national security”, once freed from prison custody.
Labaran, who further applied to the court for protection of witnesses billed to testify against the defendants, drew attention of the court to the fact that the 1st defendant, Kanu, has dual citizenship, hence would escape out of the country if released on bail. While praying the court to allow the defendants to attend their trial from Kuje prison, FG, stressed that Onwudiwe was a major threat, saying he was the only one facing a particular count of “preparatory to commit an act of terrorism”.
Meanwhile, in her ruling, Justice Nyako, held that charge against the defendants “are very serious in nature”, and therefore not ordinarily bailable.
“Irrespective of what the charge is, the court has to exercise its discretion on way or the other”, the Judge held, adding that some of the charges against the defendants could attract life imprisonment if proved by FG.
Justice Nyako also dismissed contention by the defendants that President Muhammadu Buhari had openly directed that they should not be released on bail.
The Judge held that President Buhari, being a citizen of Nigeria, was at liberty to exercise his freedom of speech. She maintained that the President lacks the capacity to influence the decision of the court, saying the defendants did not place any new fact or law capable of persuading the court to reverse an earlier ruling of the court that denied them bail.
I hereby therefore refuse bail of the applicants. But in the alternative, I hereby order accelerated trial of this matter to almost commence immediately, but not later than two months.