Terrorism trial: Nnamdi Kanu knows fate on March 19 over bail application

The long-expected decision of the court on when to bail the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is facing terrorism trial appears to be close by as the Abuja division of the Federal High Court has fixed March 19 to rule on the fresh application filed by the detained leader seeking his release, pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge brought against him by the Federal Government.

Daily Sun reports that Justice Binta Nyako who fixed the date equally announced the court’s decision to resume a full-blown hearing of the case against Kanu on March 20.

Justice Nyako adjourned the matter after she listened to arguments. canvassed by counsel to Kanu, Mr. Alloy Ejimakor, and that of the prosecution counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN.

Ejimakor who drew the attention of the court to Kanu’s bail application dated February 5. further told the court that the defendant had also filed a notice of preliminary objection challenging the competence of the charge pending against him.

He urged the court to grant Kanu bail on “most liberal terms” owing to his deteriorating health.

In addition, Ejimakor submitted that there was no dispute that the IPOB leader has a serious heart condition that was confirmed by a federal government-owned hospital.

“Our humble submission is that the medical condition of the defendant speaks for itself and the health challenge persists, despite the treatment offered him by the detaining authority,” Ejimako added.

He maintained that Kanu’s continued detention by the Department of State Services, DSS, posed a threat to his life.

The defence lawyer alleged that the delay in the prosecution of the embattled IPOB leader was the fault of the government which he said had repeatedly amended the charge.

Responding to the court’s observation that Kanu once jumped bail, Ejimako argued that developments that happened in the past had turned academic given the findings and judgments of various courts on the matter.

On the preliminary objection dated February 19, Kanu’s counsel urged the court to direct that before the trial could commence, the respondents must refrain from, seizing documents from lawyers, stopping lawyers from taking notes during their visit to the defendant at the DSS and equally eavesdropping on conversation with Kanu.

He further urged the court to order that the prosecution l must stop the violation of his client.

Alternatively, he sought an order that before the commencement of trial, a non-custodial centre be created for Kanu to engage with lawyers of his own choice.

But in opposing both the fresh bail application and the preliminary objections, the prosecution counsel, Chief Awomolo, SAN, described them as an abuse of the court process.

FG’s lawyer argued that it would be wrong for the court to allow Kanu’s counsel to dictate how the proceedings should be conducted.

He said it was an insult for Kanu’s lawyer to list what must be done before the trial would commence, adding that the defendant’s rights were never breached by the DSS.

Awomolo, SAN, told the court that the security agency has been diligent in protecting Kanu’s life.

He urged the court to reject Kanu’s request for bail and order an accelerated hearing of the case.

According to the prosecution counsel, Section 161 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, stipulated that the defendant must prove that the authorities failed to grant him access to quality healthcare at his detention center.

He argued that there was nothing tangible that was brought before the court to establish the exceptional circumstance that would warrant Kanu’s release on bail.

He said the court had earlier revoked the defendant’s bail after he violated the conditions attached to it.

“There is no evidence before the court that Kanu will not jump bail again,” Awomolo insisted.

Meanwhile, earlier in the proceedings, Justice Nyako expressed her displeasure over how the trial had been conducted since 2015.

This is exactly the way this case has been going since 2015. I am talking to both sides. You always find a way to truncate the proceedings,” Justice Nyako stated.

The IPOB leader, who was first arrested by security agents in Lagos on October 14, 2015, has been in detention since June 29, 2021.

Trial Justice Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health ground, after he had spent about 18 months in detention.

Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison.

However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his country home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the death of some of his followers.

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