Court Grants Nnamdi Kanu Bail
After spending almost two years in detention, respite finally came the way of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, when the Abuja division of the Federal High Court Tuesday granted him bail in the sum of N100 million.
The judge in addition ordered that the defendant produces three sureties with N100 million each.
Kanu, Onwudiwe Chidiebere, Banjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi were arraigned by the federal government last year on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism, treasonable felony and illegal possession of firearms, among others.
But Justice Nyako had struck out six out of the 11 amended charges filed against the defendants on grounds that they lacked competence.
Ruling on the bail application of the defendants, the judge said she was convinced that Kanu’s ailment was one that needed serious medical attention than the current medical facilities provided by the prison authorities.
“The first defendant, Nnamdi Kanu, has appealed to the court for bail based on health grounds and it is only the living that can stand trial.
“So I am minded to grant him bail so that he can attend to his health and face his trial alive,” she said.
The court however said that the sureties to be provided by Kanu should include a highly respected Jewish leader, since according to her, the defendant claimed Judaism as his religion.
Another of the sureties, according to the judge, should be a senior and highly placed individual of Igbo extraction and in the ranking of a senator, while the last is expected to be a respected individual resident in Abuja with proof of ownership of landed property.
In addition, Justice Nyako said Kanu must never be seen in a crowd of more than 10 persons, adding: “No interviews and no rallies.”
Also, the judge ordered Kanu to deposit his international passport including his British passport with the court, adding that the court should on a monthly basis be furnished with a progress report on his health.
Kanu’s co-accused were however unfortunate, as the court denied them bail on grounds that the charges against them were grievous.
The judge also refused to grant their second motion which prayed the court to review its earlier ruling on the protection of witnesses.
She adjourned till July 11 and 12 for continuation of trial.
During the trial on Tuesday, Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, were present at the court during proceedings.
Fayose, who was allowed into the courtroom, said he came to show solidarity with the defendants in the face of intimidation in the country, which he said belongs to all Nigerians.
He added that he needed not be an Igbo man before identifying with the Biafra cause.
He saluted Kanu and expressed hope that the defendant would someday be set free.
Fani-Kayode, on the other hand, was barred by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) from entering the courtroom to witness Kanu’s trial.
Also, reacting to the bail terms granted Kanu, IPOB described the bail conditions as “childish, political and funny”.
The group said the bail conditions were most probably designed by politicians, because everything about them were political, adding that those who drafted them were afraid of the rising popularity of its leader.
In a statement Tuesday, the media and publicity secretary of the group, Mr. Emma Powerful, said: “The oppressors are afraid of our leader’s popularity and they hope to cage him through this funny bail condition.
“We are not excited about our leader’s release, we demand the release of our members detained alongside him. It is unacceptable to the entire members of IPOB worldwide that the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Binta Nyako attached conditions towards the release of our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.”
IPOB held the view that bail terms were unacceptable to it, stressing that Kanu committed no crime against humanity or the Nigerian state.
“We wonder why Justice Binta Nyako would prefer to attach conditions to his release.
“Again, Justice Binta Nyako refused to grant bail to Mazi Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Mazi Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, who have been detained with our leader for almost two years,” it said.
The group thanked the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United States government, Israeli government, Russian government, European Union and others that they said had prevailed upon the Nigerian government and the judiciary for Kanu’s release, while also calling on them to continue to mount pressure for the release of the other three detainees.
Towing the same path as IPOB, Kanu’s parents also expressed reservations over the bail conditions given to their son.
Speaking Tuedday, Kanu’s father, Eze Israel Kanu, who is also the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu Umuahia, in Abia State, rejected the bail conditions, saying that while the Kanu family was happy that their son had been granted bail, the conditions attached to it were not necessary.
He told journalists at his palace in Isiama Afaraukwu that the bail terms were akin to giving something with one hand and taking it with the other hand, insisting that the IPOB leader must be set free without any conditions attached.
“The federal government should release my son unconditionally,” he said and called on the world to determine if the bail “conditions are proper”.
The traditional ruler said that he was happy when he received the news that his son had been granted bail by the court against all expectations, as quite a lot of people did not believe that the IPOB leader would be granted bail.
He, however, faulted Justice Nyako for asking the IPOB leader to produce a Jewish leader as surety, wondering why a court of competent jurisdiction would demand that a citizen of another country should come and stand as surety in Nigeria.
Eze Kanu, who was flanked by his wife, Ugoeze Sally, and daughter, Chinwe, equally stated that the court got it wrong by asking that a senator from the South-east should post a N100 million bail bond.
Agreeing with her husband, Mrs. Kanu said that if her son eventually returns home, she would advise him not to abandon the agitation for the restoration of Biafra, noting that without his activities the world would not have known about the problems of Biafrans in Nigeria.
“No retreat, no surrender,” she declared, adding that her son was raised by God to lead the campaign for the liberation of Biafra and “God will deliver Biafra as He delivered Israel”.
A rights activist, who came to the palace in solidarity with the Kanu family, Paul Njoku, also condemned the bail conditions, describing them as “superfluous and a miscarriage of justice”.
“You cannot go to Israel and ask for surety when the court has no jurisdiction outside Nigeria,” he said in reference to the requirement for a Jewish leader to stand as surety for Kanu.
He also said that the bail conditions infringed on the fundamental human rights of the IPOB leader, explaining that stopping him from talking to the press and holding meetings contravenes Kanu’s right to freedom of association and speech.
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