The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has applied to the Federal High Court in Abuja to restore his revoked bail in order for him to return to the country for his trial on charges of treasonable felony.
Kanu, a dual citizen of Nigeria and the United Kingdom, who is believed to be residing in the UK, also asked the court to ensure that security agencies would guarantee his safety on his return to the country for trial.
He and others were facing treasonable felony charges at the court before he left the country in 2017.
His disappearance from the country followed the invasion of his home in Abia State during the ‘Operation Python Dance’ staged by the Nigerian Army in the South-East states to quell the agitation for the Republic of Biafra in September 2017, among others.
Justice Binta Nyako had subsequently separated his trial from that of his co-defendants so that their trial could progress.
Due to Kanu’s continued absence from court, the judge, on March 28, revoked the bail she granted to him in April, 2017, ordered his arrest and that the trial be continued in his absence.
His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, on Thursday informed Justice Nyako that he had on April 1, 2019 filed for Kanu an application praying the court to set aside the March 28, 2019 order.
An affidavit filed in support of the application read in part, “That the applicant is ready to stand his trial, if the safety of his life can be guaranteed by the Nigerian security agencies.
“That the applicant did not jump bail and has not voluntarily abstained from his trial to warrant the revocation of his bail and the subsequent order for his arrest.”
The affidavit added that Kanu “was ever willing to stand trial but for the unprovoked attack and bloody invasion of his residence by the Nigerian soldiers” in Afara-Ukwu, Abia State on September 17, 2017.
It stated that the “murderous raid” by the soldiers “left 28 unarmed and defenceless persons dead and many people abducted/injured”.
“That the applicant narrowly escaped death by the whisker and his subsequent and consequential absence from court was not volitional but was occasioned by the murderous invasion of his premises by the Nigerian Army,” the affidavit added.
As grounds of the application, Kanu’s lawyer, Ejiofor, contended that the court’s order was “unconstitutional as it was made in clear violation of the applicant’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights to fair hearing”.
The lawyer said his client “was not given adequate time to adduce evidence and explain the circumstances which operated to make his attendance in court near impossible.”
He also argued that the business of the court on March 28, 2019, when the court order was issued, was not for such a purpose but for the hearing of the applications pending in the surety proceedings only.
The prosecuting counsel, Magaji Labaran, on Thursday, asked for time to file his opposition to the application.
Justice Nyako adjourned hearing till January 16.