Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako, of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has struck out the amended six-count treasonable felony charge the federal government filed against the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
The court struck out the charge, after it was withdrawn by the Prosecution counsel, Mr. K. E. Kaswe.
Kaswe withdrew the charge after Kanu’s team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, accused FG of deliberately frustrating the speedy determination of the case.
Ozekhome said the amended charge was served on him barely 48 hours to the court proceeding.
He maintained that FG introduced fresh issues in the amended charge, including additional documents and proof of evidence that was not originally attached to the case.
“My lord, in one of the attachments, pictures of lawyers waiting to have a meeting with the defendant at the DSS facility, were snapped with a secret camera and displayed.
“Names of his lawyers, Ifeanyi Ejiofor and Maxwell Opara, were also mentioned in the amended charge.”
After the objection by Ozekhome, Kaswe applied to withdraw the amended charge to enable the matter to proceed to trial.
Kaswe told the court that his first witness was available and ready to testify.
Consequently, Justice Nyako struck out the charge
Also, during the trial, the court turned down a request for bail by the Kanu.
Justice Nyako held that Kanu must explain the reason why he breached the previous bail that was given to him, before he could enjoy another favourable discretion from the court.
While rejecting the bail application, Justice Nyako said, “Until the issue of absence of the defendant for his trial, with all the bail conditions breached, is determined, the instant application of the defendant for bail will at best be premature and it is refused. However, the defendant is at liberty to refile the application.”
The court noted that Kanu’s trial had since 2015, suffered various setbacks owing to over 19 interlocutory applications that had been filed in the matter.
It, therefore, implored the parties to allow the case to proceed on trial to enable the charge to be determined, one way or the other.
Kanu had in the application he filed pursuant to sections 6(6) and 36(5) and (6) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, as well as sections 161, 162, 163 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015, prayed the court to release him on bail, pending by determination of the charge against him.
He equally prayed the court to order the Department of State Services to produce the medical report of the defendant who is currently in its custody.
Kanu, told the court that he was severely tortured for eight days in Kenya, before he was repatriated back to Nigeria for continuation of his trial.
He alleged that his health condition deteriorated, following “a highly poisonous substance” he said was injected into his system, which he said is causing him to have constipation and increased heartbeat.
Insisting that the DSS lacks the necessary medical facility to cater for his health needs, Kanu, told the court that he was confined to solitary confinement where he alleged that he was daily exposed to mental torture.
The IPOB leader told the court that he had “credible and reliable sureties”, pledging that he would not commit any offence while on bail.
Kanu, argued that he had not been tried or convicted by any court of law in the country, contending that he was entitled to bail.
He further drew attention of the court to the fact that he was previously released on bail on health grounds.
However, the federal government urged the court to refuse the bail application, insisting that Kanu, having realized the gravity of the case against him, would run away from the country and not make himself available for trial.