- Some civil society organizations in Nigeria has interpreted the bail conditions given to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra by a Federal High Court in Abuja
- The CSOs said the court never intended to grant Kanu bail with the kind of stringent conditions slammed on him
- They called on the court to either vary its ruling on the conditions or order for the unconditional release of the IPOB leader
Following recent bail granted to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra Nnamdi Kanu, civil society organizations in Nigeria have called variation of the conditions.
The group - a coalition of civil society groups said the bail conditions given to Kanu amounts to denial of bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja.
In a statement released on Wednesday, April 26, the CSOs said the conditions should either be varied or Kanu should be freed unconditionally to attend to his health.
The statement was signed by Eze Onyekpere, Centre for Social Justice; Sam Amadi; Benedict Ezeagu, Save Nigeria Group; Princewill Akpakpan, Lawyers of Conscience; Okere Nnamdi, Kingdom Human Rights Foundation; and Ibuchukwu Ezike, Civil Liberties Organisation.
The group said: “While we admit that the exercise of discretion and the conditions attached to bail may vary from case to case, it must be situated within the context of constitutionalism, legality, the facts of the case and follow judicial precedent.”
Reviewing the difficulty in maintaining the bail conditions, the CSOs said, the first condition that Kanu must not be found in a gathering of more than 10 people is impossible to fulfill.
They said the implication is that he can no longer go to a church or a place of worship, market place place or restaurant.
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“This will likely happen as he is stepping out of the prison yard. Pray, what purpose does this condition serve?” the group asked.
They also queried the demand for a South-East senator as part of the bail conditions.
“Under what law or which section of the constitution did the judge derive the authorization for this? When did the ethnic origin of an accused person or surety become relevant for the accused being admitted to bail?
Thus, in the event Mr. Kanu finds Nigerians that are not of Igbo ethnic extraction as sureties, they would therefore not qualify.
“And if Mr. Kanu cannot get a senator to stand surety for him, he will not be allowed to go and attend to his health? How many senators, in these days of the anti-corruption drive will agree to post a bail bond for N100 million without making themselves vulnerable to being pulled over by the anti-corruption agencies?" the CSOs demanded.
“It therefore seems that in restricting one of the sureties to be a senator of Igbo ethnic nationality, Mr. Kanu has contrary to section 42 (1) (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), been subjected in the practical application of the law to disabilities and restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups and places of origin are not made subject to.
They also said that for the court to ask Kanu not to address rallies or grant media interviews is an extreme measure which apparently serves no purpose.
"This is a violation of fundamental human rights entrenched in Chapter Four of the Constitution. Even while in detention, he has not been restricted from having contact with the media," the group added.
Watch this NAIJ.com video of Nnamdi Kanu in court below: