Justice Binta Nyako of a Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday fixed April 25, 2017 to decide the application for bail of the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu; standing trial on an amended six-count charge alongside three others.
Counsel to Kanu, who is the first defendant, Barr Ifeanyi Ejiofor had submitted to the court that since the allegations bothering on treasonable felony and criminal conspiracy has been struck out on the last adjourned date. Kanu no longer constitutes a security risk, and that the need to grant him bail is paramount.
In support of the application for bail, Ejiofor, was the bail earlier granted by another court of same jurisdiction and a letter sent to comptroller General of Nigerian Prisons over deteriorating health conditions of Kanu.
The counsel further said that the IPOB leader, who is an internationally recognised person with no criminal record will not jump bail if granted.
Counsel to the second defendant, Barr Udoka however sighted several authorities and related cases where bail was granted to defendants in the course of their trial.
He also objected to the paragraph 3 of a counter affidavit filed by the Federal government stating that it is in the interest of the defendants to remain in prison custody.
In his argument for bail, the 4th defence counsel, Barr. Maxwell Okpara commended the court for striking out six charges preferred against the defendants on the last adjourned date in the matter, an act which, he said was commended by the whole world.
Okpara further said that the ‘confiscation’ of the defendants in prison custody is of more threat to national security than releasing them.
Counsel representing the federal government, Mr Labaran Shuaibu while objecting to the bail application of the defendants, asked the court to refuse the bail applications, stating that the constant delay in the prosecution of this case is predicated on the constant interlocutory applications from the defendants.
Meanwhile, the trial Judge said the bail applications will not stall the trial of the defendants, who will still be tried based on her order which is predicated on the protection and shielding of witnesses.
“Nothing can change my order in the protection of the witnesses,” she added.
She further explained that the witnesses will wear mask and must not be facially identified, adding also that, so long the witnesses are security agents, their identities would be protected for the sake of the future, while non-security agents will be seen by members of the public.
“I am not ready to jeopardise the protection of the security operatives,” she held and adjourned till April 6, 2017 for the review of the order on witness protection, and April 25, 2017 for ruling on the bail application.