Biafra: Kanu denied bail, to remain in prison


Pro-Biafra agitator, Nnamdi Kanu, and his associates, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi (identified as a Field Maintenance Engineer with MTN Nigeria Limited), are  to remain in Kuje prison, Abuja as the Federal High Court, Abuja rejected their bail application yesterday.

Justice James Tsoho, earlier at their arraignment, ordered that they be ramanded in Kuje prison.

Yesterday, the judge, in a ruling on their bail application, rejected their prayer for bail,

Justice Tsoho held  that they were not entitled to bail as they failed to challenge the allegation by the prosecution that they would not continue to commit the alleged crime for which they were being prosecuted, if granted bail.

They were charged with treasonable felony for seeking secesion from Nigeria and running an illegal organisation – the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Justice Tsoho had earlier noted that there was no objection to his being represented by Udechukwu during the hearing of the application on January 25.

The judge upheld the contention by the prosecuting counsel,  Mohammed Diri, who had opposed the bail application, to the effect that the accused were likely to interfere with and intimidate prosecuting witnesses.

The judge also ruled that contrary to the contention by defence lawyers, the charges of treasonable felony, which attract life imprisonment on conviction are serious ones as held by the Supreme Court in Federal Government’s case against Asari Dokubo.

He also held that the charges filed by the Federal Government were not trumped up as contended by the defence.

He held that the defence failed to contradict the exhibits tendered by the prosecution in opposing the bail application to the effect that the accused were likely to constitute “threats to the peace and tranquility of the country”.

He ruled that rather than contradict the allegation with a rebuttal, the applicants chose to “maintain that they are within their right to agitate for self-determination.”

“In my view, this does not contradict the allegation. It is trite that an allegation not challenged is deemed admitted,” the judge held.

He also rejected the defence’s contention that the continued arrest since October 14, 2015, violated his rights under section 35.

The judge also ruled that Kanu’s admission that he was a dual citizen of Nigeria and Britain further “heightened the possibility of him jumping bail”.

The judge ruled that rather than grant bail to the accused persons, he would order an accelerated hearing of the case with the possibility of hearing it on daily basis.

“It is my candid opinion that the three defendants are not entitled to bail. Accordingly, they are to be detained in prison pending their trial,” the judge ruled.

He adjourned till February 9, 10, 11 and 12 for trial.

Kanu was in the custody of the Department of State Service since his arrest in a Lagos hotel on October 14, 2015 till January 20, 2016, when he was transferred to prison by an order of Justice Tsoho  shortly after he was arraigned along with two others.