A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday fixed December 1 for ruling on the bail applications filed by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, and three others with whom he was charged with offences including treasonable felony and an act preparatory to act of terrorism.
Justice Binta Nyako fixed the date for ruling after lawyers to the four defendants argued their separate bail applications which were opposed by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, on Thursday.
Others with whom Kanu was re-arraigned on November 8, were the National Coordinator of IPOB member, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
They were, in the 11 counts, including treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms and improper importation of goods.
Onwudiwe was specifically accused in one of the counts of an act preparatory to an act of terrorism.
All the counts were in connection with the accused persons’ alleged broadcasts on Radio Biafra and agitation for the secession from Nigeria, states in the South-East and South-South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue states to constitute a Republic of Biafra.
The judge had on November 8, fixed Thursday for the hearing of the bail applications shortly after the accused pleaded not guilty to the amended 11 counts preferred against them by the Federal Government.
The four accused persons were represented by their separate lawyers, Ifeanyi Ejiofor (for Kanu); Mr. I. Adoga (for Onwudiwe); Mr. E. I Efeme (for Madubugwu) and Mr. Maxwell Okpara (for Nwaiwusi).
At the hearing on Thursday the lawyers urged the judge to dismiss the counter-affidavit filed in opposition to their clients’ applications.
They contended that the claim by the prosecution that their clients would constitute a threat to national security if released on bail pending the conclusion of their trial was false.
Efeme said, “The prosecution has the duties to give the particulars of how the defendants would constitute national security.
“These documents (provided by the prosecution) do not show such.
“It is the duty of the prosecution to show how the third defendant and the others should not enjoy bail; we are saying they have not.”
Adoge averred that Onwudiwe had not been transferred to prison from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), despite the court’s order to that effect.
The lawyer said the charge against his client was a mere “smokescreen”.
He added: “The Supreme Court has said when the charge is found to be a smokescreen, the court is bound to grant bail to the defendant.”
But Okpara said the counter-affidavit filed by the prosecution in opposition to his client’s bail application was “fundamentally defective” and should be struck out.
The lawyer urged the court to grant bail to his client on basis of the alleged defects in the bail application, a situation which he said implied that the application was not opposed.
He also argued that contrary to the contention of the prosecution, the defendants would only constitute national security threat if they continued on remand while “there will be peace if they are released”.
The lead prosecution lawyer, Magaji Labaran, argued his counter-affidavits and urged the court to dismiss the bail applications and order accelerated hearing in the matter.
He cautioned the court against granting bail to the defendants, particularly Onwudiwe, who was charged with terrorism.
Labaran informed the court about an application he filed seeking protection for prosecution’s witnesses.
Lawyers to the defendants confirmed being served with the applicant, but sought time to enable them respond.
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