Stephen Ukandu, News & Features Editor
Efforts by the legal team of the detained Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, to secure his release from detention, were frustrated Wednesday, as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, rejected his bail application.
The court said that the IPOB leader would remain in custody pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge preferred against him by the Nigerian Authorities.
Trial Justice, Binta Nyako, held that Kanu must explain the reason why he breached the previous bail that was given to him, before he could enjoy another favourable discretion from the court.
“Until the issue of absence of the defendant for his trial, with all the bail conditions breached, is determined, the instant application of the defendant for bail will at best be premature and it is refused.”
Justice Nnyako, however, held that “the defendant is at liberty to refile the 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 process.
Justice Nnyako implored the parties to allow the case to proceed on trial to enable the charge to be determined, one way or the other.
Kanu had in the rejected application he filed, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending by determination of the charge against him.
He argued that the suit was in 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.
Kanu’s lawyers also urged the court to order the Department of State Services, DSS, to produce the medical report of the defendant who is currently in its custody.
His lawyers told the court that he was severely tortured for eight days in Kenya, before he was renditioned to Nigeria in June 2021.
According to them, Kanu’s health condition has deteriorated, following “a highly poisonous substance” allegedly injected into his system, which they said, “is causing him to have constipation and increased heartbeat.”
Insisting that “the DSS lacks the necessary medical facility to cater for his health needs”, Kanu’s lawyers told the court that the IPOB leader was confined to solitary confinement where they alleged that he was daily exposed to mental torture.
Kanu’s appeals that he has “credible and reliable sureties”, pledging that he would not commit any offence while on bail were not considered by the court.
Besides, Kanu, argued that he has not been tried or convicted by any court of law in the country, contending that he was entitled to bail.
He further drew attention of the court to the fact that he was previously released on bail on health ground.
Kanu’s prayers for bail were stoutly opposed by the Federal Government which claimed that Kanu would jump bail if released, considering the gravity of his offenses.