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IPOB Leader Kanu Loses Temper After Bail Denial

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The detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, reacted angrily on Monday after the Federal High Court in Abuja denied his request for bail. Kanu, who has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS), cited Section 2, Subsection 3F of the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022, asserting that it prevents any Nigerian court from trying him.

The Act defines terrorism to include acts performed to further an ideology that could harm or damage a country or international organization, compel a government by intimidation, or destabilize fundamental structures of a country. Kanu argued that attempting to try him would fall under this definition and constitute terrorism.

Justice Binta Nyako dismissed Kanu’s bail request and his plea to be transferred to prison or house arrest. The judge based her decision on the fact that Kanu had previously jumped bail before fleeing Nigeria.

She noted that Kanu’s sureties had applied to be discharged but was unable to locate him after his escape. “The only option left for Kanu is to go to the Court of Appeal,” Justice Nyako advised, recommending that Kanu exercise his right of appeal.

Kanu’s frustration was evident as he recounted the events leading to his current detention. He claimed that his home was invaded by soldiers, forcing him to flee and that his subsequent capture in Kenya and rendition to Nigeria violated international law.

“You cannot violate a treaty that was entered into and then hope to stand on that illegality to conduct a trial. It is not done anywhere in the world,” he argued.

The court rejected Kanu’s claims that the Supreme Court had ruled his earlier bail should not have been revoked, with Justice Nyako stating, “I have perused the Supreme Court judgment copy and did not see the claim of the lawyer.”

Despite denying his bail and requests for relocation, the court ordered the DSS to ensure Kanu has access to his legal team, allowing up to five lawyers per visit. The court also mandated that Kanu be provided with a clean place to consult with his lawyers.

Kanu’s initial bail was granted on April 28, 2017, but he fled the country after a military operation at his home led to the deaths of some of his followers. He was re-arrested in Kenya on June 19, 2021, and extraordinarily renditioned back to Nigeria on June 27, 2021.

Since then, he has remained in DSS custody. On April 8, 2022, the court struck out eight out of the 15 charges against him, citing a lack of substance in those charges.

Kanu’s legal battle continues as he prepares to take his case to the Court of Appeal, maintaining his stance that any trial in Nigeria would be unlawful under the Terrorism Prevention and Prohibition Act.

The IPOB leader also launched a heated verbal attack against Gboyega Awomolo, the prosecution counsel, during his trial. The dramatic scene unfolded when Awomolo interjected, requesting Kanu’s legal team to call him to order.

Kanu, visibly agitated, turned to Awomolo and exclaimed, “This man is a terrorist for conducting a trial in violation of an international treaty that Nigeria entered into.”

 “They are all terrorists! No court can try me in Nigeria. Anything done in violation of any treaty entered into by Nigeria is an act of terrorism,” Kanu said passionately.

“This man here is a terrorist as of today. He is a dishonest man! You are a terrorist! Who the hell are you? Follow what the law says.”

Kanu also highlighted his prolonged detention, expressing his frustration and saying that he had been in detention for three years even as he accused, Awomolo, the Chairman of the Body of Benchers of violating the law.

Despite the vitriolic attack, Awomolo maintained his composure and responded calmly. “I am not a terrorist and I am not provoked by the action of the defendant.

It is understandable. He is only being emotional,” he said, attempting to defuse the tension.

The exchange underscores the deep-seated tensions and high stakes surrounding Kanu’s trial, which has been a focal point of national and international attention due to its political and legal implications

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