The Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Namdi Kanu, has filed a motion asking court to vary the bail conditions given to him by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja.
Justice Nyako, in her ruling delivered on April 25 2017, had granted bail to Kanu on health grounds.
Kanu, in his application filed on July 1 , 2017, insisted that parts of the bail conditions prohibiting him from being seen in a crowd exceeding 10 persons, granting press interviews and holding or attending rallies, violated his constitutional rights.
Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said in the motion that the undesirable bail terms and conditions were contained in paragraphs 2 (vii) and (viii ) of the court’s ruling, granting bail to his client on April 25.
Citing several Sections of the 1999 Constitution, Kanu’ motion is seeking, “An order of this honourable court varying the bail conditions given to the first defendant/ applicant on April 25, 2017, by outrightly (sic ) vacating paragraph 2 (vii) and (viii ) in the said order, which stipulates ‘that the first defendant should not be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people; and that the defendant should not grant any interviews, hold or attend any rallies , respectively.”
Ejiofor argued that the bail conditions were excessive, while maintaining that by virtue of Section 36 (5 ) of the 1999 Constitution, his client was presumed innocent.
He contended that the part of the condition barring him from being seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people contradicted his client’s right to freedom of association, and peaceful assembly, as guaranteed by Section 40 of the Constitution.
He added that the part of the conditions barring Kanu from granting press interviews constituted an infringement of the defendant’s right to freedom of expression provided under Section 39 of the Constitution.
The lawyer stated, “Section 36(5 ) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (amended) presume as innocent citizens charged with criminal offence until guilt is proved.
“Paragraph 2 (vii) in the order , which stipulates that the first defendant/applicant cannot be seen in a crowd exceeding 10 people, contradicts the applicant’s right to freedom of association, and peaceful assembly granted by Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 , (as amended).
“Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as (amended) provides for citizens ’ rights to freedom of expression and press.
“The bail conditions granted the first defendant/ applicant, particularly conditions in paragraph 2 (vii) and (viii ) in the said order , clearly discriminated against the first defendant/ applicant, and subjected him to certain disabilities and restrictions.”