MUST READ!! JUSTICE BINTA TO BIAFRANS – CHARGES AGAINST NNAMDI KANU OTHERS VERY SERIOUS TO ATTRACT LIFE IMPRISONMENT

MUST READ!!  JUSTICE BINTA TO BIAFRANS - CHARGES AGAINST NNAMDI KANU OTHERS VERY SERIOUS TO ATTRACT LIFE IMPRISONMENT

MUST READ!!  JUSTICE BINTA TO BIAFRANS – CHARGES AGAINST NNAMDI KANU OTHERS VERY SERIOUS TO ATTRACT LIFE IMPRISONMENT

Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Thursday, declined to release on bail, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and three others, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, stating that charges filed against them by the Federal government are “very serious in nature and can attract life imprisonment” if proven so by the government.

However, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu alleged plot by the Federal Government to import foreigners to testify against him. Kanu, who is facing trial alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, made the allegation on a day he was denied bail by Justice Binta Nyako of Abuja Division of the Federal High Court. Justice Binta refused to grant bail to any of the defendants pending the determination of the 11-count criminal charge the Federal Government preferred against them.

Charges against the defendants border on treasonable felony and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism. Their separate bail applications were predicated on Sections 158 and 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, as well as Sections 35 and 36 of the 1999 constitution, as amended.

The defendants contended that charges against them were not only bailable offences, but also not felony punishable with death. Arguing that the presumption of innocence under the Nigerian constitution was in their favour, the defendants said their release from detention would enable them to properly defend the charges against them. Besides, they insisted that their right to self determination was guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution and Article 20 of the Africa Charter on Peoples and Human Rights.

They maintained that IPOB, which they said had been registered in over 30 countries, had not been proscribed or declared as a dangerous organisation under any law. The defendants expressed their readiness to produce reasonable sureties before the court. However, the Federal Government has opposed the release of any of the defendants on bail. Government lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that the defendants would constitute “a threat to national security” once freed from prison custody. Labaran, who further applied to the court for protection of witnesses billed to testify against the defendants, drew attention of the court to the fact that the 1st defendant, Kanu, has dual citizenship.

He argued that Kanu who he said has both Nigerian and British passports, would escape if released on bail. While praying the court to allow the defendants to attend their trial from Kuje prison, the Federal Government stressed that Onwudiwe was a major threat, saying he was the only one facing a particular count of “preparatory to commit an act of terrorism.”

Meanwhile, in her ruling, Justice Nyako held that charges against the defendants “are very serious in nature” and, therefore, not ordinarily bailable. “Irrespective of what the charge is, the court has to exercise its discretion one way or the other,” the judge held, adding that some of the charges against the defendants could attract life imprisonment if proved by the Federal Government.

Justice Nyako also dismissed contention by the defendants that President Muhammadu Buhari had openly directed that they should not be released on bail. She said: “The offences are serious in nature and carry very severe punishment if proven. I hereby, therefore, refuse bail of the applicants. But in the alternative, I hereby order accelerated trial of this matter to almost commence immediately, but not later than two months,” the judge held.

TESTIFYING BEHIND SCREEN

Immediately after the ruling was delivered, the Federal Government applied for all the witnesses to be allowed to testify behind screen. It also prayed the court for identities of the witnesses not to be revealed in any record of the proceeding.

The defendants, however, opposed the application, contending that granting such request would amount to a gross violation of their rights to fair hearing. “We vehemently oppose secret trial of the defendants. They were accused in the open, we also request that they be tried in the open. The defendants need to see those testifying against them eye-ball-to-eye-ball. We are ready for this trial”, Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor submitted.

FOREIGNERS TO TESTIFY AGAINST ME

Kanu Similarly, one of the defence lawyers, Mr. Maxwell Okpara, told the court that most of the proposed witnesses were foreigners the government imported from neighbouring countries. He said: “My lord, we have uncovered their plan to bring Ghanaians and people from Cameroon to appear in this court to testify against the defendants.

“We as Nigerians will resist that plot. It cannot work. That is why they are insisting that they should testify behind screen. That plot has failed, it will not work.” After listening to all the parties, Justice Nyako fixed December 13 to rule on the Federal Government’s application.

source – VANGUARD

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