Published On: Fri, Dec 2nd, 2016

Biafra: FG Insists on Using Masked Witnesses Against Nnamdi Kanu

Biafra: FG Insists on Using Masked Witnesses Against Nnamdi Kanu

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, on Thursday, alleged plot by the Federal Government to invite foreign personnel to testify against him in court.

Nnamdi Kanu, who is currently facing trial alongside three other Biafra agitators, Mr. Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu andDavid Nwawuisi, proclaimed the allegation on the very day he was denied bail by Justice Binta Nyako of the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

The trial 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 Kanu and other defendants border on treasonable felony and their alleged involvement in acts of terrorism.kanu-white

Their separate bail applications were predicated on sections 158, 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, as well as section 35 and 36 of the 1999 constitution, as amended.

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Besides, they maintained that their right to self determination was guaranteed both by the Nigeria constitution and Article 20 of the Africa Charter on Peoples and Human Right.

They insisted that IPOB which they said has been registered in over 30 countries, has not been proscribed or declared as a dangerous and terrorist organization under any law.

However, Federal Government, vehemently opposed the release of any of the defendants on bail. The lawyer, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, told the court that the defendants would constitute “a threat to national security”, once freed from prison custody. He drew attention of the court to the fact that the 1st defendant, Nnamdi Kanu, has dual citizenship.

He argued that Kanu who he said has both Nigerian and British passports, would escape out of the country if released on bail. FG, drummed that Onwudiwe was a big 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 charge against the defendants “are very serious in nature”, and therefore not ordinarily bailable.

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“Irrespective of what the charge is, the court has to exercise its discretion on way or the other”, the Judge held, adding that some of the charges against the defendants could attract life imprisonment if proved by Federal Government.

On the alleged notion that the president directed the court to release them on bail, The Judge held that President Buhari, being a citizen of Nigeria, was at liberty to exercise his freedom of speech. She insisted that the President lacks the ability to influence the decision of the court, saying the defendants did not place any new fact or law capable of convincing the court to reverse an earlier ruling of the court that denied them bail.

In her Ruling: “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.

As soon as the ruling was delivered, Federal Goverment, applied for all the witnesses to be allowed to testify behind screen. they also begged the court for identities of the witnesses not to be revealed in any record of the proceeding.

The defendants however opposed the application, arguing that granting such request would amount to a gross violation of their rights to fair hearing.

in their own words “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.

After listening to all the parties Justice Nyako fixed December 13 to rule on FG’s application.

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About the Author

- Emeh James Anyalekwa, is a Seasoned Journalist, scriptwriter, Movie producer/Director and Showbiz consultant. He is the founder and CEO of the multi Media conglomerate, CANDY VILLE, specializing in Entertainment, Events, Prints and Productions. He is currently a Special Assistant (Media) to the Former Governor of Abia State and Chairman Slok Group, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu. Anyalekwa is also the Abia State President, Association of Online Media Practitioners of Nigeria (AMPON) https://web.facebook.com/emehjames