A Nigerian judge has denied bail to controversial director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu. Hon Justice John Tsoho gave the final ruling on Kanu's bail application during a hearing at the federal high court Maitama in Abuja, Nigeria's capital, on Friday 29 January.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, one of the lawyers representing Kanu, told IBTimes UK that his client, who holds both a British and a Nigeria passport, could be allowed to leave the country if he is granted bail. Speaking before the hearing, the lawyer also said he was confident Kanu would be released.
Local media affiliated with the pro-Biafran movement reported there was "great apprehension at the Abuja High court over Nnamdi kanu's bail." Witnesses also said supporters cheered as the pro-biafran leader arrived at the court. The case has been adjourned to 9 February.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob), was arrested by the State Security Service (DSS) in Lagos in October 2015 on conspiracy and terrorism charges that were later dropped. A day after the Abuja High Court ruled he should be released, officials pressed new treasonable felonycharges against him, while President Muhammadu Buhari said Kanu would not be granted bail due to the "atrocities" allegedly committed.
Kanu was kept in DSS custody until Tsoho ruled that he should be transferred to the the Nigeria Prison Service in Kuje, about 40 km south-west of Abuja, so that he could be visited by family members.
During a previous hearing earlier in January, Mohammed Diri, counsel to the federal government, said he was opposed to Kanu's release, alleging the pro-Biafran leader could jump bail and flee the country as he holds British citizenship."He sneaked into this country. He didn't enter the country the proper way. He may sneak out," the counsel said. "I urge this court to refuse this application and order for accelerated hearing."
However, in a document made available to IBTimes UK, Ipob dismissed the allegations claiming that Kanu had legally left Britain through Heathrow Airport. "It is inconceivable to think of how he could be allowed to board an international flight without producing his passport at Heathrow Airport of all places," the document read.
"What Mr. Buhari indirectly insinuated was that the British Security and Immigration systems are in shambles, dysfunctional, and obviously compromised. We would like to remind the world that even if Mazi Nnamdi Kanu entered Nigeria without valid documents or passport, the Nigerian Immigration Law stipulates detention for a maximum period of seven days followed by deportation.