Court to Rule on Kanu’s Bail Application for Treason Charges on March 19

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has set March 19, 2024, as the date for its decision on the fresh bail plea made by Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Additionally, the court has slated March 20 for the resumption of Kanu’s trial.

Kanu has been facing charges related to terrorism and treasonable felony since 2015. Initially granted bail on health grounds in April 2017 after spending 18 months in detention, he fled the country following a military raid on his residence in September 2017.

His trial was halted after the Court of Appeal acquitted and discharged him in October 2022. The appellate court deemed his extradition from Kenya to Nigeria unlawful and dismissed the terrorism charges against him.

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However, the Federal Government appealed against this decision, leading to a Supreme Court ruling on December 15, 2023, which ordered the continuation of Kanu’s trial, stating that there is no legal barrier to trying a suspect despite rights violations.

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At the recent court session, both the prosecution and defense introduced new legal representatives. Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) replaced David Kawse for the prosecution, while Alloy Ejimakor took over from Mike Ozehkome (SAN) for the defense. The reasons for this change were not disclosed during the proceedings.

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Awomolo informed the court of the prosecution’s readiness to proceed with the trial and urged the judge to adhere to the Supreme Court’s directives. On the other hand, Ejimakor presented a bail application and a preliminary objection, emphasizing Kanu’s deteriorating health condition and alleging threats to his life while in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).

Justice Binta Nyako expressed frustration at the frequent disruptions in the proceedings, admonishing both sides for their role in prolonging the case. Ejimakor pressed for the bail application to be heard, stressing the urgency due to Kanu’s health concerns and the alleged mistreatment by the DSS.

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In response, Awomolo argued against granting bail, asserting that the prosecution was prepared for trial and advocating for an accelerated hearing. He dismissed Ejimakor’s preliminary objection as an abuse of court process and emphasized the importance of proceeding with the trial promptly.

After deliberations, Nyako ordered that Kanu be allowed to wear plain clothes provided by his legal team and scheduled the ruling on the bail application for March 19, with the trial set to commence on March 20.

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