The Federal High Court in Abuja, again, on Tuesday, dismissed the bail application filed by Maazi Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
It was the second time in a row the court would turn down the bail request by the IPOB leader, who faces seven terrorism-related charges.
Ruling on Tuesday, the judge, Binta Nyako, held that Mr Kanu’s second bail request amounts to an abuse of court process, after a similar application was rejected on May 18.
“The present application amounts to an abuse of court process for attempting to relitigate an issue already decided by the court.”
Mrs Nyako had rebuked the IPOB leader and asked him to give reasons for his absence from court since 2017.
NAN reported that the court had ordered Mr Kanu’s arrest in March 2019 after adjudging him to have jumped bail.
The arrest order came months after the IPOB leader fled the country in the wake of the invasion of his home by soldiers in Afara-Ukwu, near Umuahia, Abia State, in September 2017.
Justifying his client’s escape from the country, Mr Kanu’s lead counsel, Mike Ozekhome, had argued that the IPOB leader’s absence from court was as a result of the invasion of his home by the Nigerian Army.
“During the invasion of Mr Kanu’s home, 28 people were mowed down by the military; forcing him to run for his life,” Mr Ozekhome had argued during the proceeding at the court.
Mr Kanu’s disappearance stalled his trial which he was jointly undergoing along with his co-defendants. With the development, the judge, on March 28, 2018, severed his trial from that of other co-defendants to stop further delay in the others’ case.
Mr Kanu, a citizen of both Nigerian and Britain, was believed to have moved to Israel and later to the United Kingdom after leaving Nigeria.
However, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, announced in June 2021, that Mr Kanu had been “intercepted” and returned to Nigeria.
While Mr Malami was silent on where Mr Kanu was apprehended and the circumstances that led to his repatriation to Nigeria, the IPOB leader’s family members and lawyers said he was abducted from Kenya.
In her ruling, Mrs Nyako expressed dissatisfaction with Mr Kanu’s explanation for his absence from court.
The judge said the IPOB leader had legal representation and sureties on the day his bail was revoked.
Recalling the proceedings where Mr Kanu’s bail was revoked, Mrs Nyako said the sureties informed the court that they had no knowledge of the IPOB leader’s “whereabouts”.
“The defendant (Mr Kanu) was not denied fair hearing,” the judge said before dismissing the bail request.
The judge advised Mr Kanu to approach the Court of Appeal if he is dissatisfied with the ruling.
“This application is dismissed,” the judge said before adjourning the suit until November 14.
Meanwhile, security agents took positions around the court premises to restrain the teeming number of Mr Kanu’s supporters who usually gather around the premises on the IPOB leader’s trial days.
They gathered around the court chanting solidarity songs on Tuesday. The security operatives prevented them from entering the court premises.