Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), on Thursday, told the Federal High Court, Abuja, that he was ready to face trial if his safety would be guaranteed by the court.
Kanu told the presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako, through his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who had applied to restore the IPOB leader’s bail so that he could face his trial was filed on 1 April.
“We have an application for bail filed on 1 April 2019, the application was served on the prosecution and it is ripe for hearing.
“We urge the court to restore his bail on the ground that the court will guarantee his safety when he comes back to the country to continue his trial,” he said.
On his part, counsel to the Federal Government, Labaran Shuaibu, who told the court that he was just seeing the process, opposed to the application. He urged the court to adjourn the matter to enable him file the necessary processes.
Delivering the ruling, Justice Nyako, who adjourned the matter till 16 January 2020, said the only way he could guarantee Kanu’s safety was to keep him in the prison. She said even judges no longer felt safe in the country.
“Even judges are being abducted in the country. So prison is the safest place for him,” she said.
Justice Nyako had ordered the re-arrest of Kanu in a ruling revoking his bail.
She explained that the court gave the order because Kanu had failed to appear in court after his bail was granted in April 2017.
The judge also ordered that trial would continue in the absence of the IPOB leader and directed that a bench warrant be issued for his arrest.
Justice Nyako had granted Kanu bail on health grounds on 25 April 2017 and asked him to present three sureties, one of whom must be a serving senator, a Jewish religious leader and a highly respected person who must own a landed property in Abuja.
The judge warned the IPOB leader against granting press interviews, holding rallies or being in a gathering of more than 10 persons while on bail.
She had also warned him that the bail would be revoked if he flouts any of the conditions.
In 2015, Kanu was charged with “criminal conspiracy, intimidation and membership of an illegal organisation” – charges that amount to treason.
He was released on bail after spending more than 19 months without trial on treason charges.
He then renewed his campaign for independence until his house in the south-eastern city of Aba was raided by the military in September 2017, during which many IPOB members were killed.
Kanu disappeared from public view after the raid only to surface in Israel in October 2018. He later returned to his base in London, where he continues to advocate for an independent state for the Igbo people of Nigeria.