Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Abuja division of the Federal High Court hearing the case of alleged treasonable felony against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and three others has fixed April 25 to decide whether it would grant a fresh application for bail presented before it by the defendants.
The fresh application followed the recent striking out of six out of 11 charges brought against Kanu and three others standing trial over alleged treasonable felony and other charges brought against them by the federal government.
The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, who gave the date yesterday in Abuja, after taking submissions from counsel in support and against the bail application, also reserved April 6, for a review of its earlier order on protection of witnesses.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, the judge also informed parties in the matter that the ruling on bail application however, will not stop trial, which she said must go on simultaneously.
She also rebuffed an attempt by Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, to move his application for variation of the court’s earlier order for protection of security operatives who are meant to testify in the matter, adding that the court would not rescind its earlier decision on the matter.
She said: “You already know them, they are the ones who arrested you and detained you. I don’t see any case there. If you do not want the screen, I will ask them to wear masks.”
Arguing the bail application, Ejiofor prayed the court to grant his client bail on health grounds
He reminded the court that kanu had been granted unconditional release by several courts including the Federal High Court, presided by Justice Ademola, but the Federal Government has failed to comply with the orders.
He stated that in the course of detaining the him, Kanu suffered severe health issues and prayed the court to grant the application on grounds of the failing health of the defendant and in most liberal terms, stressing that as a law abiding citizen, he will not jump bail but would be available for trial.
Similarly, counsel to the other defendants, respectively asked the court to grant their clients bail as the offenses for which they were charged were bailable.
They argued that if beyond the charges levelled against them, which at the first instance was not even known to law, there was any other reason for which they are denied bail, such reason should be brought before the court, otherwise, they should be admitted to bail.
However, opposing the bail application, prosecuting counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, said the delay in prosecuting the case is caused by the interlocutory applications brought by the defendants.
He therefore urged the court to refuse the application and instead grant an accelerated hearing of the matter.
Kanu, Onwudiwe Chidiebere, Banjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi were arraigned by the federal government on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and illegal possession of firearms amongst others.
But, Justice Nyako had struck out six out of the 11 count amended charge filed against the defendants on grounds that the charges lacked competence.