BY GODWIN OBI
The leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was on Wednesday, denied bail by a Federal High court in Abuja after prosecutors had withdrawn fresh amended charges against him
The FG had in the amended charges, listed some lawyers representing the embattled Kanu, including Misters Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara, as accomplices of the defendant.
The said lawyers were alleged to have been in constant contact with Kanu after he jumped bail and fled the country.
Presiding Justice Binta Nyako was critical of the prosecution for filing the amended charges just hours before the ruling. She said she was unaware of the amended charges until she got to the court in the morning.
According to her, the prosecution cannot dump the new amended charges on the court, on the morning of the hearing.
A bail application was put forward by Kanu’s lawyers which was denied by Justice Nyako on the grounds that his absence in the past, since 2017, should be determined, before a bail application, would be entertained.
Justice Nyako went ahead to strike out the charges preferred against Nnamdi Kanu.
On dismissing his bail application, the court noted that Kanu’s trial had since 2015, suffered various setbacks owing to over 19 interlocutory applications that have been filed in the matter.
The 54-year-old’s lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, accused the prosecution of trying to delay processes by continuous amendment of the charge against his client.
Ozekhome also told the court that this is the seventh time the Federal government was amending its charge.
Justice Nyako agreed with Ozekhome’s submission stating that Kanu is not expected to take a plea on those newly amended charges immediately, as he needs time to digest them before doing so.
It, therefore, implored the parties to allow the case to proceed to trial, to enable the charge to be determined.
Kanu had in the application he filed pursuant to sections 6(6) and 36(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as sections 161, 162, 163 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending the determination of the charges against him.
Kanu was arraigned in an Abuja Magistrate Court for the first time in 2015 for charges of “criminal conspiracy, intimidation and membership of an illegal organisation” by Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS).
The charges violated “Section 97, 97B and 397” of Nigeria’s penal code. with Chief Magistrate S. Usman berating the Department of State Services (DSS) for failure to produce Kanu in court on the two consecutive times the matter came up before the court.
Following the arraignment, Kanu’s supporters stormed Abuja in luxury buses in a peaceful protest against the move.