Biafra: Court rules on Kanu's bail Friday

By The Citizen

Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, will on Friday rule on the bail application brought by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kalu.

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr. M. U. Udechukwu, who took the lead argument for the bail yesterday, urged the court to release him, stating that Kalu's alleged offence is bailable. Udechukwu said the Criminal Justice Act, 2015 stipulates bail for anyone not accused of a capital offence.

He said the offence Kanu was accused of committing, is a civil issue, adding that the right to agitate is guaranteed in a democracy. 'The right to agitate is inherent in a democracy. People must not be denied of their rights to protest by way of being kept in custody. If national security was a ground to throw people into detention, the Criminal Justice Act would have said so,' he said.

Counsel to the Federal Government, Mr. Mohammed Diri, said he was 'seriously opposed to this application,' arguing that the request did not fulfil certain conditions spelt out in Section 162 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Diri said Kanu could jump bail if released because, according to his statement to the Department of State Services (DSS), he is a British citizen.

'He sneaked into this country. He didn't enter the country the proper way. He may sneak out. I urge this court to refuse this application and order for accelerated hearing,' he argued.

Kanu was taken away by prison officers after the court adjourned to Friday.

Last Wednesday, Justice Tsoho had ordered that Kanu be remanded in Kuje Prisons pending the determination of his application for bail. He gave the order after listening to Diri and Mr. Chuks Muoma (SAN), counsel to Kanu.

Muoma had argued that Kanu be remanded in prison custody away from the DSS cell. He said his client had been kept incommunicado in the custody of the DSS for three months. He asked the court to send the accused person to prison so that his family could access him.

Diri, however, prayed the court to keep Kanu in the DSS custody for security reasons.

After listening to the lawyers' submissions, the judge ruled that the defendant be kept in the custody of the Nigeria Prison Service, Kuje.

Kanu, alongside Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, are facing a six-count charge of treasonable felony.

On December 23, 2015, Kanu refused to take his plea before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the Federal High Court, Abuja, citing lack of confidence in the court. This was after Justice Adeniyi Ademola, also of the Federal High Court, Abuja, ordered the DSS to release him unconditionally, and after a Chief Magistrate court discharged and acquitted him of charges of criminal intimidation and ownership of unlawful society.