NNAMDI KANU: Court set to decide bail

The ruling on a bail application for pro-Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu has been set for 29 January, one of the defence lawyers reporters. Kanu, who is facing treasonable felony charges, was brought to the federal high court Maitama in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, for a hearing on the bail.

John Tsoho, justice of the federal high court, Abuja,made this known today at
the court sitting on Nnamdi Kanu bail hearing.

 M U Udechukwu, senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who took the lead argument for Kanu's bail, urged the court to release him, stating that the alleged offence is a bailable one. Udechukwu argued that the Criminal Justice Act, 2015, stipulated bail for anyone not accused of a capital offence.

He said that 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," he said. "If national security was a ground to throw people into detention the Criminal Justice Act would have said so." Making his own submission, Mohammed Diri, counsel to the federal government, said he was "seriously opposed to this application".

 He argued that the application did not fulfil certain conditions spelt out in section 162 of the Criminal Justice Act, 2015. Diri said that 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," he said. "I urge this court to refuse this application and order for accelerated hearing." Kanu was taken away by prison officers after the court adjourned to Friday. Last Wednesday, Tsoho had ordered that Kanu be remanded in Kuje prison pending the determination of his application for bail. He gave the order after listening to Diri, and Chuks Muoma (SAN), counsel to Kanu. Muoma had argued that the accused person be remanded in prison custody away from the cell of the DSS.

He said that his client had been kept incommunicado in the custody of the DSS for three months. He therefore asked the court to send the accused person to prison so that his family could have access to him. Diri, however, prayed the court to keep Kanu in the custody of the DSS for security reasons.

After listening to the submissions of the counsel, the judge ruled that the defendant be kept in the custody of the Nigeria Prison Service, Kuje. Kanu, alongside Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, is facing a six-count charge of treasonable felony. Count one of the charges reads:

"That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown persons now at large in London, United Kingdom, between the year 2014 and September 2015, with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the president to change his measures of being the president of the federation, head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federation as defined in section 3 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by doing an act wit: Broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored by NBC for your preparations for the states in the southeast geo-political zone, south-south geo-political zone, the Igala community of Kogi and Idoma to secede from the federal republic of Nigeria and form themselves into a republic of Biafra, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 41 (C) of the criminal code act, CAP C38 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004."

On December 23, 2015, he had refused to take his plea before Ahmed Mohammed, justice of the federal high court, Abuja, citing lack of confidence in the court. This was after Adeniyi Ademola, another justice of the federal high court, Abuja, ordered the DSS to release him unconditionally, and after a chief magistrate court discharged and acquitted of charges of criminal intimidation and ownership of unlawful society

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