Despite an appeal against the proscription order, the Federal High Court in Abuja has ruled that the decree prohibiting the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a pro-Biafra group, remains in effect.
In a judgement on Kanu's preliminary objection on Friday, Justice Binta Nyako ruled that, while IPOB has appealed the order prohibiting it, the order would remain in effect until it is overturned.
“This issue is still on appeal. The order proscribing the organization is still subsisting until it is vacated. "
In September 2017, the previous Chief Judge of the court, Justice Adamu Kafarati (now deceased), granted an ex-parte plea by the Federal Government and labeled IPOB an unlawful organization in a judgement.
In a separate judgement in January 2018, Justice Kafarati denied IPOB's request to have the proscription order lifted.
In her judgement on Friday, Justice Nyako slammed Kanu's counsel, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), for claiming that the IPOB leader was illegally deported from Kenya.
Ozekhome stated that Kanu was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Nigeria in violation of existing human rights laws.
Ozekhome filed a N50 billion claim for Kanu before the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday, based on similar reasoning.
Kanu remains a fugitive, according to Justice Nyako's ruling on Friday, because he is wanted on a bench warrant.
Rendition for the purpose of criminal investigation is allowed. In the instant case, there is a bench warrant on the defendant. Suffice it to say, he is a fugitive before the court. ”
The judge further held that, as against argument by the defence, her court is clothed with the requisite jurisdiction to try Kanu for the offence he allegedly committed outside the court.
Justice Nyako held that the affected counts do not disclose any offences against Kanu.
The judge said
In this instant preliminary objection application, I have read the counts and come to the conclusion that counts 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14 have not disclosed any offence against the defendant.
“Counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 15 show some allegations, which the defendant has to answer.
“The court shall proceed to try the defendant on those counts,” she said.
The judge later entertained argument on the bail application filed for Kanu by his lawyer.
While arguing the bail application, Ozekhome contended that until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free.
He argued that, in view of the presumption of innocence, his client was innocent until the contrary was proved.
Ozekhome prayed to the court to admit his client to bail and release him to his custody.
The prosecuting lawyer, Magaji Labaran, urged the court to refuse bail to the defendant, noting that the IPOB leader, Kanu, had violated the earlier bail granted to him.
“My lord granted him bail in 2017 on health grounds, but since then till date, no medical record was submitted to the court until he jumped bail.
What we should be saying is contempt of court because he has flagrantly violated the orders of the court.
He stressed that the court should be guided by its discretion, particularly given the circumstances of the case.
Labaran added that, in the alternative, the court should order an accelerated hearing in the case so that the defendant could know his fate one way or the other.
Justice Nyako adjourned till May 18 for a ruling on bail and May 26 for the commencement of the trial.
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