Judiciary

Kanu appeals for calm as court denies him bail

Kanu says ‘we want to save, not kill them, that’s why I’m here (in detention)’

The Federal High Court, Abuja, today (Tuesday, June 28, 2022) threw out the bail application of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), detained since July last year in DSS custody, following his extraordinary rendition from Kenya to which he had travelled from London, his base in the UK.

Ruling on Kanu’s bail application in the amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony, brought against the IPOB leader by the federal government, Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, who had previously granted the IPOB leader bail in 2017, dismissed the fresh application from Kanu as an abuse of court process having been previously denied.

Kanu who was on bail from the same court had fled to London in 2017 after soldiers had inexplicably invaded his family home in Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia, in September of that year, in an attack that was interpreted as an attempt on his life, as some 28 people as well as domestic animals were allegedly killed in the incident.

Kanu’s escape from Nigeria and subsequent revocation of his bail by Nyako has been a subject of litigation in the courts, with his lawyers putting the federal government to task to explain why soldiers invaded Kanu’s family home while his bail subsisted and what the government expected a man to do in the face of manifest danger to his life as was evident in the attack on his family home by a detachment of soldiers, naval and air-force officers whose mission in Kanu’s family home has not been explained up till day by any agency of government,

Nyako’s ruling came days after President Muhammadu Buhari himself hinted in a speech in Kigali, Rwanda, that Kanu might not be getting bail any time soon since he had earlier jumped bail, adding, rather irascibly, that ‘he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again if he’s admitted to bail?’ and fueling speculation that any hope of fair trial for Mazi Kanu under President Buhari’ watch was not to be contemplated.

Expectedly, therefore, Justice Nyako insisted that Kanu’s trial would proceed even as he remained in detention, stressing that while counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 had been struck out, the defendant was to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15.

Buhari had, while interacting with Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGOM), in Kigali, sworn that he was not going to intervene in the matter, telling his British counterpart that the IPOB leader would be given the chance “to justify all the uncomplimentary things said against Nigeria while he was in Britain.”

Dismissing the allegation that Kanu was not allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President said the detained IPOB boss was being given every opportunity under the law.

“He felt very safe in Britain and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court. Let him defend all that he said there.”

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