You can’t have your seized passports, money back now, court tells Kanu

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an application by leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra and founder of Radio Biaf‎ra, Nnamdi Kanu, for the release of certain items, including his British and Nigeria passports, which are in the custody of the Department of State Service.

Justice James Tsoho dismissed the application made orally by Kanu’s lawyer, Chuks Muouma (SAN), who had sought the release of the items because they would not be needed by the prosecution since they were not listed as part of exhibits to be tendered.

Apart from the passports, other items which Muouma sought to be released to the IPOB leader who is currently in detention at Kuje prison along with his two co-accuse, are cash sums of $2,200 and N87,000.

Justice Tsoho, in dismissing the application for lacking in merit, insisted that the fact that the items were not listed as possible exhibits did not foreclose the possibility of their being later used by the prosecution as exhibits.

‎He then adjourned the case till February 19 for the hearing of an application by the prosecution for protection of its witnesses.

The judge, before adjourning the case, granted the request by the defence lawyer to the effect that relations of the accused persons be allowed in the court room subject to security screening and the capacity of the court room.

Kanu, David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu are being prosecuted on six counts of treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms and other offences bordering on their agitation for secession ‎of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.

‎Justice Tsoho had on January 29 denied bail to Kanu and the two other defendants and ordered that they remained on remand pending the period of their trial.

The judge in rejecting the accused persons’ bail application, held that they were not entitled to bail as they failed to challenge the allegation by the prosecution that they would continue to commit the alleged crime for which they were being prosecuted if granted bail.

Kanu was in the custody of the Department of State Service from the time of his arrest in a Lagos hotel on October 14, 2015 till January 20, 2016, when he was transferred to prison by an order of Justice Tsoho , shortly after he was arraigned along with two others.

Meanwhile, a mild drama took place within the premises of the court as Kanu refused to remove his handcuffs.

It took the intervention of his ‎lead counsel, Chief Chuks Muoma, SAN, to persuade him to step-down from the prison van that brought him to court for trial and when he eventually succumbed to persuasion by his lawyer to alight from the prison van, Kanu, swore that he would not allow anybody to remove the handcuffs which he wore into the courtroom.

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