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Court rejects Nnamdi Kanu’s fresh bail request, refuses to transfer him out of DSS’ custody

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Chigozie Ikpo, Abuja

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Monday, dismissed a fresh bail application filed by the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, for his release, pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge brought against him, by the Federal Government.

Justice Binta Nyako, in a ruling, held that the court is not at liberty to grant the defendant bail, after he had jumped the bail it earlier granted him.

Justice Nyako noted that those who stood surety for the defendant had, after he escaped from the country, approached the court and applied to be discharged from the case, claiming not to know the whereabouts of the defendant, forcing the court to order the forfeiture of their N100 million bail bonds, adding that the issue is currently pending before the Court of Appeal.

She held that the only option available for the defendant was to take the matter to the appellate court and warned that any attempt to file similar applications would be regarded as an abuse of court process.

Likewise, the court refused Kanu’s request to be either transferred to prison custody or placed on house arrest.

However, it ordered the Department of State Services, DSS, to always grant Kanu access to his team of lawyers, not exceeding five persons on every visiting day.

It will be recalled that Kanu was first arrested in Lagos on October 14, 2015, upon his return to the country from the United Kingdom.

Justice Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted him bail on health grounds after he had spent about 18 months in detention.

Upon the perfection of the bail conditions, he was on April 28, 2017, released from the Kuje prison.

However, midway into the trial, the IPOB leader escaped from the country after soldiers invaded his country home at Afara Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State, an operation that led to the deaths of some of his followers.

Kanu was later re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021, and extraordinarily renditioned back to the country by security agents on June 27, 2021.

Following the development, the trial court, on June 29, 2021, remanded him in custody of DSS, where he remained till date.

On April 8, 2022, the court struck out eight out of the 15-count charges that FG preferred against him on the premise that they lacked substance.

Likewise, the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal, on October 13, 2022, ordered Kanu’s immediate release from detention even as it quashed the charge against him.

The appellate court said it was satisfied that FG flagrantly violated all known laws when it forcefully rendered Kanu from Kenya to the country for the continuation of his trial.

It held that such arbitrary use of power by the Nigerian government divested the trial court of jurisdiction to further try the appellant.

Dissatisfied with the decision, FG took the matter before the Supreme Court, even as it persuaded the appellate court to suspend the execution of the judgment, pending the determination of its appeal.

While deciding the appeal, the Supreme Court, on December 15, 2023, vacated the judgment of the appellate court and gave FG the nod to try the IPOB leader on the subsisting seven-count charges

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