Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja on Thursday reserved ruling on the bail application filed by the leader of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu and three others till December 1.
The defence counsel to the defendants, Barrister Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had pleaded with Justice Nyako to admit them to bail.
Kanu, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benhamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi were re-arraigned before the judge on charges of treasonable felony and terrorism after Justice John Tsoho disqualified himself from hearing the matter.
Ejiofor said that it is essential the court grant the defendants bail because the federal government cannot prove the allegations of terrorism against them.
Arguing the separate bail applications before Justice Nyako, the counsel asked the judge to strike out the counter affidavit filed by the federal government for failure to establish any offence against his clients.
They submitted that based on the attached documents in support of their bail applications, Radio Biafra was registered in the UK and other parts of the world. They also stated that IPOB is a registered organisation in UK and other countries.
The lawyers argued that the offences they are being charged arose from the question of self-determination of a people, explaining that President Muhammadu Buhari had at the UN General Assembly expressed support for the right to self-determination for Palestine.
Consequently, the lawyers have asked the court to be courageous and compel the prosecution to obey the bail earlier granted by two different Nigerian courts and the ECOWAS court and to halt the arrests and killing of members of the group.
They informed the notice of contempt proceedings against the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The AGF had filed an amended 11-count charges against Kanu, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, with charges also including belonging to an illegal society and operating an unlicensed radio station.
The AGF’s counsel Suleiman Labaran in a counter affidavit, had asked the court to dismiss the applications for the bail of the defendants on the grounds that their offences border on treason and “acts preparatory to terrorism.”
He urged the court to rather grant accelerated hearing in the matter.
But Esene, whose client, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, is still being held in DSS cell, submitted that no case has been made out against him.
“My lord, the exhibits in the counter affidavit should not be looked at and should be struck out for offending the Evidence Act.
“They said that my client is being held for breach of national security and the counter affidavit has not shown that. His liberty is guaranteed by the constitution”, he said.
After listening to the arguments, Justice Nyako fixed December 1 for ruling on the bail application.