The Court of Appeal, Abuja Division on Thursday reserved ruling in the appeal filed by Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB against the 29, January judgment of Federal High Court, Abuja denying him and two others bail.
The appellate court reserved ruling following exchange of briefs between M.M Diri, the lead counsel to the respondent which is the Federal Government and Chuks Momah(SAN) counsel to the appellant.
In a very brief adumbration of the brief, Momah told the three panel of judges at the appellate court led by Justice Abdul Aboki that the fundamental of their argument against the judgment denying his clients bail was that the judge, Justice James Tsoho gave the ruling as if it involved only the first appellant (Nnamdi Kanu).
He therefore asked the court to allow the appeal and grant his clients bail.
The lead counsel to the respondent however asked the court to uphold the ruling of the trial court and refuse the appellants bail. He urged the court to dismiss the appeal in its entirety arguing that it lacked merit.
Kanu who was arrested by officials of Department of State Security Service, DSS. late last year is being tried on charges of treasonable felony alongside two other pro-Biafra agitators, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi by the Federal Government.
In his ruling denying Kanu and his co accused bail, Justice Tsoho accepted the argument of the prosecution that the activities of the defendants constitute threat to national security.
Justice Tsoho also noted that the offence of the treasonable felony Kanu and his two co-accused are charged with attracts life imprisonment as punishment and is prejudicial to national security.
He added that the Supreme Court has ruled that when national security is threatened or is at the risk of being threatened, then the issue of human rights must be suspended.
He also noted that the prosecution has presented evidence to the court that Kanu, who is the main accuse may run out of the country if granted bail because he holds dual nationality and is in possession of Nigerian and British passports.
He therefore refused the applicants’ request for bail.
The Federal Government had docked Kanu and his two co-accused on a six-count criminal charge bordering on treasonable felony before Justice Tsoho on January, 2016.
The three accused however pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Federal Government had alleged that the accused persons committed treasonable felony by spear-heading an illegal agitation for the secession of ‘Biafra Republic’ from Nigeria, an offence punishable under Section 41(C) of the Criminal Code Act, CAP C38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
FG alleged that the accused persons are managing the affairs of the IPOB, which it described as ‘an unlawful society.’
One of the charges against the accused persons read: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown persons, now at large, at London, United Kingdom, between 2014 and September, 2015, with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order to force the President to change his measures 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 geo-political zone, South-South geo-political 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.”
The IPOB leader was arrested in Lagos on 14 October, 2015 shortly after he arrived from United Kingdom.
He was subsequently arraigned before a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Abuja over allegations bordering on criminal conspiracy and managing and belonging to an unlawful society.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge and was eventually granted bail to the tune of N2million. But he was not released from the detention of DSS, where he was since his arrest.
The Federal Government later withdrew the matter and the Magistrate Court subsequently struck out the charge, even as it discharged the accused persons.
Justice Adeniyi of Federal High Court, Abuja had on December 17, ordered the ‘unconditional’ release of Kanu, from the custody of the DSS based on the applications for fundamental rights enforcement by his lawyer.
DSS however ignored the order, but instead arraigned Kanu on a fresh charge of treasonable felony on December 23, 2015, before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of Federal High Court, Abuja.
Kanu declined to enter his plea to the charge when he was arraigned before Justice Ahmed Mohammed of the high court.
He claimed that he will not get justice from the court. The Judge consequently washed his hands off the case.
Apart from the appeal against the denial of bail, Kanu and his co accused have filed other interlocutory appeals against different ruling of Justice Tsoho waiting for hearing at the appellate court.