After supposed breaches, Kanu challenges bail conditions

After being accused of already breaching conditions for his release, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, has filed a motion to challenge his bail conditions.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, presided over by Justice Binta Nyako, had in granting Kanu bail on April 25, ordered that he must not be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 persons, should not grant press interviews, hold nor attend rallies.

The judge who dismissed separate bail applications filed by Kanu’s co-defendants, IPOB national coordinator, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe; a member, Benjamin Madubugwu and a former field maintenance engineer seconded to MTN, David Nwawuisi, said he was granting Kanu bail on health grounds.

Kanu, who is being prosecuted along with others on treasonable felony charges, seemed not to have kept the bail conditions as he has been seen granting interviews and addressing crowds of supporters.

He has however filed a motion before the court praying it to vary the conditions of the bail which it had granted him.

Kanu argued in his application filed on July 1, 2017, that parts of the bail conditions which prohibits him from being seen in a crowd exceeding 10 persons, granting press interviews and holding or attending rallies, violated his constitutional rights.

The defendant’s counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, in the motion noted that the undesirable bail terms and conditions were stipulated in paragraphs 2(vii) and (viii) of the court’s ruling that granted Kanu bail on April 25.

He anchored his motion on Sections 6(6), 36(5), 39, 40, and 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), as well as Section 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

He is therefore based on those sections of the constitution, seeking “An order of this honourable court varying the bail conditions given to the first defendant/applicant on April 25, 2017, by outrightly (sic) vacating paragraph 2(vii) and (viii) in the said order, which stipulates ‘that the first defendant should not be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people; and that the defendant should not grant any interviews, hold or attend any rallies, respectively.”

Kanu’s counsel further contended that the bail conditions were excessive and argued that by virtue of Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution, his client was presumed innocent.

Ejiofor said, “Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (amended) presume as innocent citizens charged with criminal offence until guilt is proved.

“Paragraph 2(vii) in the order, which stipulates that the first defendant/applicant cannot be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people, contradicts the applicant’s right to freedom of association, and peaceful assembly granted by Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, (as amended).

“Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (amended) provides for citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and press.

“The bail conditions granted the first defendant/applicant, particularly conditions in paragraph 2(vii) and (viii) in the said order, clearly discriminated against the first defendant/applicant, and subjected him to certain disabilities and restrictions.”

Kanu and his co-defendants are among other things being prosecuted for conspiracy and treasonable felony by allegedly conspiring among themselves to broadcast on Radio Biafra agitation for the secession of Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.

They were also accused of improper importation of goods and illegal possession of firearms.

The trial has been adjourned until October 17.

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