Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday, ruled out eight of the 15 suits charged by the Federal Government against the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
She released Kanu on the eight counts in her ruling on a preliminary objection charged by the IPOB leader questioning the authenticity of the 15-count amended charge against him.
“In this instant preliminary objection application, I have read the counts and come to the conclusion that counts six, seven, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 have not disclosed any offence against the defendant. But counts one, two, three, four, five, eight and 15 show some allegations, which the defendant has to answer.
“The court shall proceed to try the defendant on those counts,” Justice Nyako ordered. Making case for Kanu’s bail, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) cited judicial authorities, which presume an accused innocent until proven otherwise.
“Until a person is tried and convicted, he should be allowed to walk free. I humbly urge, you, my lord to use your discretion to grant him bail, subject to my lord’s condition. You can limit him to stay in my house and I will not allow him to move around,” he said. But counsel to the Federal Government, Shaibu Labaran, implored the court to decline the application, debating that Kanu had reportedly violated the earlier bail granted him.
Nyako postponed the case till May 18 for ruling on the bail application, and May 26 for continuation of trial.
MEANWHILE, the sit -at-home order by IPOB in the South East tarnished socio-economic activities in Imo State. The separatist group had directed South East residents to sit at home any day Kanu would be summoned in the court as a symbol of solidarity.
Last weekend, Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Soludo, had commenced a peace process and prayers with religious leaders and monarchs to put an end to the sit-at-home. But his plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
The Imo state government and the police, on different statements, had, a fortnight ago, ordered people to go about their businesses without fear, promising of adequate security.
Yesterday, the situation was announced heavily in Owerri, as shops, schools, banks, private and public offices were shut down. Streets were deserted, as vehicles were hardly seen moving on the roads.
Owerri-based explained to Newsmen why his family decided to obey the order. “I don’t want any regrettable thing to happen to us. This must definitely end one day. We heard that a group would enter the state to enforce the order like never before,” he said.