BY DOYIN OJOSIPE, Abuja
The Federal High Court is set to revoke the bail granted the self-acclaimed leader of the indigenous people of biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, for violation of the bail conditions, barely four months after he was granted bail, LEADERSHIP Weekend has gathered.
Sources in the nation’s security agencies told LEADERSHIP Weekend that the federal government had to approach the court to seek for Kanu’s rearrest in the interest of national unity and security.
Consequently, the federal government has approached a Federal High Court in Abuja sitting in Abuja to revoke the bail granted to Kanu.
Kanu was arrested in 2015 on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony. Six of the charges, including that of terrorism, were struck out early in 2017.
Recall that on April 27, 2017, the Federal High Court, Abuja, admitted Kanu to bail on health grounds. Justice Binta Nyako had in a ruling, said that she was convinced that Kanu was ill and needed more medical attention than the Nigerian Prisons was giving him.
The court, however, gave 12 conditions which Kanu had to fulfill to be released on bail.
The conditions were that Kanu must not hold rallies; must not grant interviews; must not be in a crowd of more than 10 people; must provide three sureties in the sum of N100 million each; one of the sureties must be a senior highly placed person of Igbo extraction such as a senator; and the second surety must be a highly respected Jewish leader since Mr. Kanu said his religion is Judaism.
Others were that the third surety must be a highly respected person who owns landed property and is resident in Abuja; that the IPOB leader must deposit his Nigerian passport; must also deposit his British passport with the court; must provide the court with reports on the progress of his health and treatment on a monthly basis and that the order for him to deposit his Nigerian and British passports also mean he cannot travel out of the country.
Kanu has, however, in flagrant violation of the conditions, been holding and attending rallies, receiving large delegations, addressing press conferences and granting interviews and recently inaugurated the biafra security service, which according to him, is to protect the people of biafra republic.
The federal government, in an application filed by its prosecutor, Mr. S. Labaran, asked the court to arrest and remand Kanu in custody pending his trial.
According to the federal government, the offence for which the IPOB leader is standing trial is not ordinarily bailable but the court had in its magnanimity and quest for justice and fairness, granted him bail on health grounds.
The federal government pointed out in the application that rather than observe all the bail conditions, Kanu had in flagrant disobedience to the court order, flouted them and had, in furtherance to the offence he was charged with, inaugurated the biafra security service, an act it described as a grave threat to national security and unity of the country.
In the affidavit in support of the application deposed to by Loveme Odubo, a litigation clerk in the Office of the Director Public Prosecutions, Federal Ministry of Justice, the government noted that rather than observe all the conditions, the 1st defendant/respondent (Kanu), in flagrant disobedience to the court, order flouted all conditions given by the court.
Odubo said in the affidavit “That the defendant held a rally at his residence in his hometown Afara-Ukwu Ibeku in Umuahia, Abia State; That the said rally with a crowd exceeding 10 persons was captured in a video published on the 1st June, 2017 and circulated throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond through the internet platform of YouTube; That the YouTube video was downloaded and is attached to this affidavit and marked NK1.
“That a certificate; (i) Identifying the CD ROM containing the video and describing the manner in which it was produced (ii)Giving such particular of any device involved in the production of that CD ROM as may be appropriate for the purpose of showing that the CD ROM was produced by a computer (iii)It was signed by a person occupying a responsible position in relation to the operation of the relevant device. That the said rally was not held in a synagogue but at the residence of the 1st defendant on Friday evening May 26th, 2017 and ended on Saturday May 27th, 2017.
“That the 1st defendant equally incited his members to disrupt, disallow and boycott elections in south east states, starting with Anambra State Gubernatorial Election scheduled for November 18, 2017, if the Federal Government failed to hold a referendum for the realisation of the state of Biafra; That the 1st defendant’s address published by Vanguard online news, dated June 23, 2017 is also attached to this affidavit and marked exhibit NK2.
“That the bail granted the defendant/applicant was to enable him go and take care of his health and not for any other purpose; That instead of the 1st Defendant to use the opportunity to attend to his health need, he has in furtherance of the offence charged with, inaugurated a security outfit known as Biafra Security Service (BSS); That his action is a serious threat to security of this country as well as a threat to national unity. That from the deposition in the affidavit in support of this application, it is clear that the essence of the bail granted the 1stdefendant/applicant is defeated; That it will serve the best interest of justice to grant this application as the 1st Defendant/Respondent will not be prejudiced.”
Biafra Security Service
The recent inauguration of the biafra Security Service by IPOB and the operations of the service have become a source of grave security concern, LEADERSHIP Weekend reports.
A video currently in circulation shows Kanu inspecting a guard of honour, mounted by hordes of young men garbed in black uniform outfits and red berets.
The publicity secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, claimed that the secret service was not set up as a standing army but a vigilante group to monitor and ensure the safety of its people returning from the North over the now revoked October 1 quit notice served Igbo people in the North by a coalition of Arewa youths.
He said, “With October 1, 2017 looming, it has fallen on IPOB to ensure the welfare, safety and well-being of biafrans returning home to prevent what happened in 1966 from happening again,” adding that that BSS was inaugurated to gather intelligence and to safeguard those returning home to “biafraland” from Northern Nigeria.
Powerful noted that IPOB can never be militarised because the group is peopled by peace–loving people, adding that the group considers peaceful agitation to be more potent than armed struggle.
In order to calm frayed nerves over the formation of BSS, the Commissioner of Police in Abia State, Adeleye Oyebade, declared the outfit illegal and warned those behind the security network to retrace their steps.
However, Innocent Orji, leader of biafran National Guard, BNG, countered and issued a warning to the federal government against any further killings of biafrans and urged the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, release all the biafra agitators incarcerated in various prisons because according to him, “freedom fighting is not a crime.”
In a statement made available to journalists in Enugu, Orji said that the time of carrying placards and receiving live bullets and being detained had passed in the agitation for the restoration of biafra.
Orji threatened that the day of reckoning for Nigeria was near if the federal government fails to release IPOB members,
“We are calling on the federal government of Nigeria to as a matter of urgency, release all pro-biafran agitators incarcerated in their prisons because freedom fighting is not a crime. If the likes of Maduka Mmadu, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, David Nwawuisi and different pro-biafra groups’ members committed crimes; Nelson Mandela of South Africa was not supposed to be crowned and celebrated but scorned as a criminal and also Martin Luther King Junior and Mahatma Gandhi of India.
“Time has gone when we will continue to carry placards and receive live bullets and bury our own. If Nigeria fails to release them, the day of reckoning for Nigeria is near,” Orji said.
Unlike IPOB’s publicity secretary, Orji revealed that the BGN is the military wing of the pro-biafra group, formed to protect the rights and lives of biafrans, pending the restoration of the republic.
He further warned that the BGN can no longer afford to fold its hands and watch her people being molested, denied of legitimate right to live and govern themselves by the Nigeria government.
The leader of the biafran National Guard further urged the Nigerian government to have a rethink on any plan to re-arrest Kanu, saying such attempt would make BGN to come hard on the Nigeria government.
“We are opposed to peaceful restoration of biafra because Nigerian government doesn’t understand peaceful language. Because of the continued massacre of defenseless people of biafra, biafra national guard, BGN, will unveil her second agenda towards biafra restoration.”
Although the emergence of the biafran secret services has continued to generate tension in parts of the South-east, the recent meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the Service Chiefs appears to be dousing the tension.
The president had in the three-hour meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, ordered the military and police chiefs to check the excesses of “unwanted elements” threatening the peaceful coexistence of the country.
The President in a broadcast on Monday also declared that the oneness of Nigeria was non-negotiable, and left no one in doubt that he was ready to decisively deal with such secessionist forces as IPOB.
Though IPOB has no camps, it operates with regional directors. The group has a way of reaching out to its members any time they have an outing or assignment. The group has become increasingly daring in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, which is its headquarters. In broad daylight few days ago, the members marched through the streets of the city, chanting freedom songs, hoisted the biafran flag at the Umuahia Tower and painted the tower with the insignia of the Biafra flag before leaving the area. There was no such audacity before now.
Reacting to the formation of IPOB’s security outfit, the Abia State police public relations officer, Geofrey Ogbonna said the police had yet to have an encounter with any of them or received any report of their activities.
Kanu had in a chat with journalists in his Afaraukwu, Umuahia residence, owned up to the existence of biafra Security Services and quite different from the position of the publicity secretary of IPOB, Emma Powerful, said BSS was set up to prevent the menace of Fulani herdsmen in Igbo land. According to him the BSS is an intelligence unit of the IPOB and not an army as was being insinuated, and its members were saddled with the responsibility of gathering intelligence regarding the quit notice to Igbo people in the North by Arewa Youths.
“No army was set up. We have a biafra Security Service to give us intelligence regarding the October 1 quit notice.”
Kanu queried why there should be concern over the existence of BSS since similar groups exist in other parts of the country including the Sharia police also known as Hisbah in the northern states.
Kanu also reiterated that there should be a proper distinction between IPOB which is a non-violent peaceful mass movement and has been consistently so from other groups whose activities pose threats to national security.
“Nigerians know the truth that we are a non-violent group but some refuse to believe the truth they know. There is no record of any injury being inflicted on any persons, people fighting or having any altercations in any of our numerous gatherings involving thousands, who gather to listen to the message of hope which we preach. Not a single incident has been recorded. We are the most disciplined and behaved mass movement anywhere in the world.”
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