Justice James Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday slated Friday, January 29 to decide the application for bail of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu and his co-accused standing trial for treasonable felony and unlawful possession of firearms.
Kanu, the Director of Radio Biafra along with two others, David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu were being prosecuted on a six-count charge, bordering on treasonable felony and unlawful possession of firearms preferred against them by the Federal Government.
Arguing the bail application at the resumed hearing yesterday, Kanu’s counsel, M. U Udechukwu told the court that the offences for which the defendants were charged are bailable and urged the court to grant them bail.
Udechukwu, who cited Sections 158 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 to buttress his point also added that the submissions of the prosecution in their counter affidavit were not sufficient enough to warrant the court denying the defendants bail.
In his submission, the prosecution counsel, Mohammed Diri, who is the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) prayed the court to refuse the bail application brought before it by the defendants.
He informed the court that Kanu had admitted that he is a British citizen and that he sneaked into the country, adding that, there is the possibility of him sneaking out if admitted to bail.
Justice Tsoho had last week ordered that Kanu and his co-defendants be remanded in prison after heated arguments between the prosecution, Mohammed Diri and the defence counsel, Chuks Muoma.
While the DPP wanted the defendants to be remanded in the custody of the DSS for security reasons and convenience in conveying them to the court for their trial, Muoma, the defence counsel prayed the court that his clients be moved to the prison for easy access.
The Federal Government is accusing Kanu of plotting to split Nigeria, by creating a Biafra Republic with south East, South South states, and parts of Kogi and Benue states, as component units.
Kanu, who was first arraigned before Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed told the court before commencement of the matter that he preferred being held in the detention, than subjecting himself to a trial, which outcome will not be respected.
He said his previous trials had various outcomes that were abused or neglected by the Department of State Security (DSS) and announced his outright objection to the trial in the court.
Diri told the court that, based on section 396 (2) of the constitution, the defendant had no right to object to being tried by the court until after the plea is heard.
But, Justice Mohammed said he was standing down from the case, saying Kanu had the right to reject the trial, “after all, justice is rooted on confidence.
“If any of the parties has no confidence in the court, he has the right to say so”, the Judge ruled and noted that the prosecution would have done the same thing if they were in Kanu’s shoes.
“I hereby remit the case file to the honourable chief judge of this court to reassign it,” the judge said.
It was on that basis that the case was transferred to Justice James Tsoho, where the defendants pleaded not guilty to the six count charges preferred against them by the Federal Government.
Part of the charges read: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown persons, now at large in London, United Kingdom, between 2014 and September 2015, with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the president to change his nomenclature 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 to wit: Broadcast on Radio Biafra your preparations for the states in the South-east geopolitical zone, South-south geopolitical zone, the Igala community of Kogi State and the Idoma/Igede community of Benue State 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.”