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Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Court rejects Kanu’s request for seized passports

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and director of Radio Biafra, on Thursday asked Justice John Tsoho of the federal high court, Abuja, to order the Department of State Services (DSS) to release his money and international passports.
Chuks Muoma (SAN), Kanu’s lawyer, made the request on Tuesday.
“We are told that investigation has been completed in this matter and certain items belonging to the defendants have been indicated as materials which the prosecution will use in the course of trial,” he said.
“Therefore we are requesting that some items be released. We apply to the court to direct that the following items or property not needed for the conduct of the prosecution’s case be released. They are: $2, 200; N87, 000, and international passports –British and Nigerian – all belonging to the first defendant.”
Responding, Mohammed Diri, counsel to the DSS, said that he was “vehemently opposed to the application for release of some exhibits”.
He argued that it was too early to say which of the items would be needed in the course of the trial, adding that the application should come at the end of the case.
He submitted that the international passports and the money were relevant to case. He therefore urged the court to discountenance the application.
After listening to both counsel, the judge ruled that the items remain in the custody of the DSS.
He held that the application was not made at the right time, being at the close of the prosecution’s case; he dismissed it for lacking in merit.
Earlier, Diri had filed an application seeking the protection of witnesses in the case, but Muoma asked for an adjournment to respond to the application.
Tsoho had denied Kanu bail on January 29, ruling that Kanu was a threat to national security, and as a result would not be granted bail.
He had held that if released, Kanu might commit the same offence again, and that there was a possibility that he might jump bail because he possessed dual citizenship.
He therefore ruled that Kanu be remanded in prison custody, and ordered an accelerated hearing of the case.
Kanu, alongside Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, is facing a six-count charge of treasonable felony.
Count one of the charges reads: “That you, Nnamdi Kanu and other unknown persons now at large in London, United Kingdom, between the year 2014 and September 2015, with intention to levy war against Nigeria in order tto force the president to change his measures of being the president of the federation, head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the federation as defined in section 3 of the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) by doing an act wit: Broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored by NBC for your preparations for the states in the southeast geo-political zone, south-south geo-political zone, the Igala community of Kogi and Idoma to secede from the federal republic of Nigeria and form themselves into a republic of Biafra, and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 41 (C) of the criminal code act, CAP C38 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.”
On December 23, 2015, he had refused to take his plea before Ahmed Mohammed, justice of the federal high court, Abuja, citing lack of confidence in the court.
This was after Adeniyi Ademola, another justice of the federal high court, Abuja, ordered the DSS to release him unconditionally, and after a chief magistrate court discharged and acquitted him of charges of criminal intimidation and management of an unlawful society.

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