By Eric Elezuo
Last week, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja, struck out eight of the 15 terrorism and felony charges preferred by the Federal Government against the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Justice Nyako freed Nnamdi Kanu on the eight counts while ruling on a preliminary objection filed by the IPOB leader.
“In this instant preliminary objection application, I have read the counts and come to the conclusion that counts six, seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 and 14 have not disclosed any offence against the defendant.
“‘Counts one, two, three, four, five, eight and 15 show some allegations, which the defendant has to answer.
“The court shall proceed to try the defendant on those counts,” Justice Nyako said.
Consequently, the lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome SAN, has expressed optimism that the end of the trial is within sight as evidence has proved that the IPOB leader has no case to answer.
In his response to members of the press, he disclosed as much as follows:
“So, today, eight of the 15 counts charge were dismissed; leaving seven counts that are wobbling; counts that wobble and fumble. They will not stand and cannot hold water. You cannot build something upon nothing and expect it to stand. It is not possible. If eight counts went, the remaining seven cannot stand. When we look at those seven counts whether it holds any water in law. We will be able to refer to the case of FRN and Saraki where some counts were crushed by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, and the Court of Appeal tried to crushed but the Supreme Court said this is not possible because the other ones related to it should also be crushed. That was how Saraki got free. So, when you test the remaining count charge; let the persecution get that notice.
“So, we proceeded to move our bill application that the defendant, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, deserve to be granted bail. The case of the prosecution has always been that Nnamdi Kanu jumped bail, and that is why he was forcibly renditioned to Nigeria. A rendition which the court did not agree with us. We shall test it although it is contrary to the provision of African Charter on Human and People’s Right; contrary to the Human Right Declaration of 1948; contrary to the International Covenant on Social and Political Rights; contrary to the instrument dealing with indigenous people’s rights. When you have a treaty with a country; such as with Nigeria and Kenya, and person voluntarily entered Kenya and you renditioned him forcefully through torture, inhuman and degrading treatment on the 27th of June 2021, all the cases base on my research shows that such person across the world cannot be tried.
Nnamdi Kanu was enjoying his bail. He was within Nigeria, he never left abroad. Then, on the 14th of September 2017, then military went in armoured truck as though they were going to war in Sambisa, and brutally invaded the home of Nnamdi Kanu and his father, His Royal Majesty, Kanu who is now late. They murdered 28 innocent Nigerians that were there without cause. They called it Operation Python Dance. We’ve not seen such in Sambisa, Chibok, and Dapchi. Somehow, Nnamdi Kanu escaped. Are you saying that person who want to be killed and ran away jumped the bail? The answer is no. It was late Chief MKO Abiola that made the statement that a bird doesn’t tell another bird that stone is coming, it simply flies away. No man stands in front of a moving train, he will be crushed. Now, you are saying that Nnamdi Kanu who barely escaped with his life should wait in Nigeria. If he had been killed, he will not be standing trial. So, he did not jump bail.
“The forced him into exile, and he went as a citizen of Britain to Kenya where he was forcefully renditioned back to Nigeria. So, this is a case deserving of bail, and we implored my lord to grant him bail even if he was to subject it to certain conditions. Even under the administration of criminal justice act, bail is allowed. It is discretionary; even in capital offense like murder or treason. Mind you, Nnamdi Kanu is not standing trial for treason, he is standing trial for offenses related to treasonable felony. Not treason itself. He is not standing trial for any capital punishment. But the administration of criminal justice act still says even in capital punishment, an accused person can be granted bail subject to the discretion of the court. Section 36 of the Constitution has given everyone the access to fair hearing, and this also means a fair trial includes all the circumstances surrounding a case. Our criminal justice system is accusatorial and not inquisitorial. This means it is the innocence of a person that is presumed and not his guilt. It is different from the French model which is inquisitorial where your guilt in presumed and you are told to prove your innocence. That is why Section 36 says you have to prove the offense of a person beyond reasonable doubt. Any doubt, no matter how small, it would be resolved in favour of the accused person.
bb“With this, Nnamdi Kanu is subject to bail subject to court discretion and imposition of certain conditions because we have proved that he did not jump bail. He almost got killed and that is why he ran away. We believe that this is a proper case for the court to grant bail so that Nnamdi Kanu will be alive in order to start trial. In law, we say come and stand trial. This means you have to be well, hail, and hearty to stand trial. It didn’t say come and sit down, lay down, prostrate, or be in the grave, or be in the hospital trial. Can we say there is a fair trial when in our bail application Nnamdi Kanu is complaining of solitary confinement? That is not allowed. He is only brought out maybe once in a week to receive vitamin D (the sun). And when other inmates greet him, they are subject to solitary confinement as punishment for exchanging pleasantry with him. He said his health is deteriorating fast, and need his doctor for advice. But they don’t allow such. The lawyers are not allowed.
“19 times. Between February 22nd and now, the lawyers and family members are taking cloths to him and the DSS refused. I personally led the lawyers on three occasions. Can you say that’s a fair trial? They don’t allow my case files, wristwatch, biro, my reading glass, and handkerchief, only my ring was allowed when I visit him. Can you say that’s a fair trial, when a lawyer cannot confer with his client freely? And the little space we were given to confer were bugged with gadgets. Can you say that’s a fair trial?
“So, when I am discussing a strategy on a case with my client, then the opposition with all its federal power should be listening to my conversation. Is that a fair trial? So, what kind of criminal justice system are we operating that the person who unlawfully abducted the accused from Kenya on 27th of June 2021 under torture. The same state (Federal Republic of Nigeria) is the one investigating and prosecuting him, and getting the witnesses that will testify against him. The same state is also the one having custody of the accused. So, head or tail, they are winning. Where is the justice of the matter? Where is the fair trial? Where is the leveled plain ground?
“In the past, I begged some cause like this for bail. I won’t mention their names. He was still undergoing trial and he dropped dead. The next time the case came up in court, I asked the prosecutor that where is the subject matter of trial. He said he’s dead. I said what’s the effect of that, he said that means the case is terminated. I said why don’t we try his corpse in the grave. Of course, that was the end of the matter but that my client was allow to prove his innocence because the prosecution could prove the matter under a government that just name and shame them of crime that we can’t prove. What we called media trial. It is outrageous. Then, you carry the shame and allegations into the grave with you. That is not fair. The people have family, association, and community people. It’s not fair, and that’s why I told the court to grant us bail. We had a wonderful outing, and God is on the throne and will forever be on the throne.”
Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and deported to Nigeria from Kenya against all known laws on June 21, 2021, and has since remained in the custody of the Department of State Service (DSS) in what his handlers have described as deplorable condition.