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From Aloysius Attah, Jeff Amaechi Agbodo, Onitsha, David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi, Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia, Magnus Eze, Abuja, Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, have rejected the conditions attached to the bail granted him by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja yesterday.
Also his father, Eze Israel Kanu, the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu, Umuahia, Abia State and prominent South East leaders have expressed reservations over the conditions attached to the bail, describing them as too stringent.
Speaking from Kuje Prisons, after the court’s sitting yesterday, Kanu told leader of an Igbo group yesterday that he would not accept the bail conditions.
According to Chief Eliot Uko, leader of Igbo Youths Movement, Kanu told him on phone that he would not accept the bail condition because the other people standing trial with him did not get the same privilege. He said Kanu also said the bail conditions were not favourable and therefore it was batter to remain in prison than to accept them.
“I spoke with Kanu on phone and he said the bail conditions are unacceptable. He also said he would not accept them since the other people charged with him were not granted bail,” Ukoh said.
Also speaking on the bail, President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, during the public lecture in honour of the late Senator Offia Nwali, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, described the conditions as “an anathema to the constitution and untenable.” He queried: “What kind of bail condition is this? Any bail condition that also infringes on the fundamental human rights of the beneficiary is unacceptable. It is an anathema to the constitution and untenable. The rule of law and separation of powers in a democracy abhor non-respect to court orders and while the three arms of government should perform their distinct functions without interference of any sort.” He said.
The Ohanaeze boss said the Igbo should continue to be humble and gentle in their conduct, but sounded the warning that pushing them to the wall will no longer be tolerated and will also have long-term implications.
Speaking about the late Senator Nwali, Nwodo described him as a politician who had clarity of vision about what he wanted for his people and how to go about it.
“He was uncompromisingly committed to his convictions and was spectacularly incorruptible. I was privileged to be Special Assistant to President Shehu Shagari at the time he was a senator,” he said.
Nwodo commended the Governor Dave Umahi administration for its visionary development strides in Ebonyi and described the state as one of those that has shown exemplary leadership.
Governor Umahi, represented by his deputy, Kelechi Igw,e in his remark, lauded the Ohanaeze leadership for piloting its affairs in the right path that has repositioned the Igbo to take its rightful place in the country. Also reacting to the bail granted Kanu, IPOB said it was unacceptable.
Saying the bail conditions were most probably designed by politicians who are afraid of Kanu’s popularity, IPOB described it as too inhuman, childish and stringent. It expressed its support for Kanu not to leave the prison until others equal;lie charged were released unconditionally.
A statement by the Media and Publicity Secretary of IPOB, Mr. Emma Powerful, said granting conditional release to Kanu was unacceptable because he committed no crime against humanity or Nigerian state. “We wondered why Binta Nyako would prefer to attach conditional release him,” three group said.
It read in part: “The oppressors are afraid of our leaders popularity and they hope to cage him through this funny bail condition. We are not excited; we demand the release of our members detained alongside him. “It is unacceptable to the entire members of IPOB worldwide that the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Binta Nyako, attached condition towards the release of our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“The Federal Government and their judiciary, through Justice Binta Nyako, banned Mazi Nnamdi Kanu not to grant press interview, not to sit with more than 10 people or have any gathering.
“However, granting conditional release to our leader is unacceptable to us because he committed no crime against humanity or Nigerian state; we wonder why Binta Nyako would prefer to attach conditional release him.
“Again, we wondered why Justice Binta Nyako refused to grant Mazi Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Mazi Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi, who have been detained with our leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu since almost two years, bail.
“We commend those who put pressure on Nigerian government and her judiciary to release our leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who has been in detention illegally since October 2015. We thank Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State for being in the court today (yesterday) in solidarity to IPOB and our leader. “We also thank the civilized nations, the United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, American government, Israeli government, Russian government, European Union and others who prevailed upon the Nigerian government and her judiciary to grant our leader bail.
“We also want them to pressurise on Nigerian government and her judiciary to release other three members who are still in Kuje Prisons, Abuja.”
Former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Dozie Ikedife, called for affordable bail conditions and total release of Kanu.
Ikedife said: I think it is high time he was granted bail and he should receive it on the terms that can be fulfilled, otherwise it would look like a tall order.”
He said asking people who have N100,000,000 to be part of the bail condition would be quite stringent, while noting that not many people would have that kind of money “even though people mention millions and billions these days.”
Ekedife said hw was happy Kanu was granted bail, adding: “But I will be happier when they dispose of his case and release him finally. That is granting him unconditional bail.”
On those who thought Kanu’s release would translate to immediate granting of Biafra, Ikedife said it depended on what they meant by that.
He said if that was their opinion of Biafra, “good luck to them,” while noting that incarcerating Kanu did not halt the process for the actualization of Biafra or self-determination.
“But one thing I don’t like in our judicial system is the way matters in courts are delayed, be it civil, criminal, political or tribunal cases. In some cases, matters in court linger for upwards of 10 years and even more to the extent that sometimes litigants die before judgment. That is too bad. The legislature and executive should look into that to change the system because justice delayed is justice denied,” he noted.
For one of the few living nationalist, Chief Amechi, Kanu was a prisoner of conscience and conditional of bail given him were unkind.
He said: “Granting bail to Nnamdi Kanu was long overdue. He is a prisoner of conscience and they incarcerated him this long because he is an Igbo man. “The conditions given him to meet are very unkind. He should have been granted bail unconditionally. And how do they expect him to get people with the kind of money mentioned to surety him?” A community leader, Chief Okoye said: “It is unfortunate that the judge gave such bail conditions. It shows that she actually did not want to grant him bail; that is why he has given such stringent conditions as a ploy to keep him incarceration.
Also Kanu’s parents have rejected the bail conditions.
In rejecting the bail conditions, Eze Israel Kanu, father of the IPOB leader and the traditional ruler of Isiama Afaraukwu Umuahia, said while the Kanu family was happy that its son had been granted bail, the conditions attached to it was not necessary. He told newsmen that the bail conditions were like giving something with one hand and taking it with the other hand, insisting that the IPOB leader must be set free without any condition attached. He urged the Federal Government to release his son unconditionally, adding: “The world should judge if the bail conditions are proper.”
The monarch faulted Justice Nyako for asking the IPOB leader to produce a Jewish leader as surety, wondering why a court of competent jurisdiction would demand for a citizen of another country to come and stand as surety in Nigeria.
Eze Kanu, who was flanked by his wife, Ugoeze Sally and daughter Chinwe, said the court got it wrong to ask that a senator of from South East should provide a whopping N100 million bail bond.
Corroborating her husband, Kanu’s mother said if her son eventually returns home, she would advise him not to abandon the agitation for the restoration of Biafra, noting that with Kanu’s activities the world would not have known about the problem of Biafrans in Nigeria.
“No retreat, no surrender,” she declared, adding that her son was raised by God to lead the campaign for the liberation of Biafra and “God will deliver Biafra as He delivered Israel.”
A rights activist, who came to the palace, in solidarity with the Kanu family, Paul Njoku, condemned the bail conditions, describing it as “superfluous and miscarriage of justice.”
“You cannot go to Israel and ask for surety when the court has no jurisdiction outside Nigeria,” he said, in reference to the requirement for a Jewish leader to stand as surety for Kanu.
He said that the bail conditions infringed on the fundamental human rights of the IPOB leader, explaining that stopping him from talking to the press and holding meetings contravenes Kanu’s right to freedom of association and speech.
A close associate of Kanu and co-founder of Radio Biafra, Dr. Chukwuma Egemba, yesterday said that the Federal Government was not sincere with the bail granted the Biafra agitator by Justice Binta Nyako.
He described the bail conditions as ridiculous and indicative that government did not want to release Kanu from incarceration.
Said he: “They have run out of options; that’s why they are coming up with these stringent bail conditions. First of all, if they say Jewish religious leader, how many Jewish religious leaders are there in Nigeria? Why Jewish; why religion and then why did they have to mention such large amount of money or did he steal anything?
“Reason like this is a justification for why people use all sorts of unprintable words to describe Nigeria; like calling it a zoo. Many Biafra activists say Nigeria is a zoo; I don’t see it that way, but when government do unimaginable things like this, they justify the impression that Nigeria is being ruled by fools or animals.”