Kanu: Despite stringent conditions, South-East Senate Caucus stuns Nigerians, gets IPOB leader out on bail

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He was given what has been described as ‘impossible’ bail conditions. His traducers, apparently buckling under local and international pressure, seemingly wanted to be seen to have yielded to such pressure, so they gave bail conditions that amounted to what the Igbo would refer to as ‘take so you don’t stare me to death’ gesture. But, to the consternation of everyone, non-Igbo thatis, those impossible conditions became possible in a jiffy, thanks to the admirable kindred spirit of the Igbo. TITUS AGBO (Abuja) and COLLINS UGHALAA (Owerri), report
Leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB),Mr NnamdiKanu who was taken into custody on October 14,  2015 by the State Security Service (SSS) on allegation of ‘treasonable felony’last Tuesday, that is April 25, granted bail by Federal High Court, Abuja presided over by Justice BintaNyako, with stringent conditions.
Justice Nyako attaché the following conditions for Kanu’s temporary freedom:
*He must not hold rallies
*He must not grant press interviews
*He must no be in a crowd of more than 10 people
*He must provide three sureties in the sum of N100million each
*One of them must a highly placed Igbo extraction such as a Senator
*Another highly placed Igbo extraction with a landed property and resident in Abuja
*Highly place Jewish leader
*He is also to deposit his Nigerian and British passports and must submit progress of his health and treatment on a monthly basis to the court.

Kanu’s lawyers were unable to meet the bail conditions same day, leading to Kanu returning to the prison same day, while his lawyers promised to meet the bail conditions in 48 hours. And true to their promise, last Thursday, April27,to be precise, Kanu’s bail conditions were met, with South East Senate Caucus rallying round him and Senator EnyinnayaAbaribe, a prominent member of the Caucus, signing the bailbond.
Reprieve came Kanu’s way after a long battle for bail,indeed.

This battle had been on since 2015 when he was first arraigned at a magistrate court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). His case was later transferred to a Federal High Court where he continued his struggle for freedom but Justice John Tsoho, in a ruling on January 29 last year, refused him bail. Thereafter, he was moved back Kuje Maximum Prison.
Undeterred by the temporary setback, he appealed against the January 29, last year’s ruling on his application for bail describing it as an abuse of court process and abreach of his fundamental human rights. Again the appellate court rejected his appeal on May 25, last year.
Again, refusing to give up the fight to get the courts to grant him bail from detention, he had also approached the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community West African States, (ECOWAS) to challenge the ruling of the court against his bail. In November of the same 2016, the IPOB leader made another approach to the Federal High Court, but again, his bail application was rejected.
However, after his accusers sought and amended the charge against him in March this year, the IPOB strong man and others charged with him filed another bail application. His co-defendants are ChdiebereOnwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi who were not so lucky as only Kanu was granted bail on what Justice Nyakocalled‘health grounds.’
The bail conditions, which have beendescribed by many legal luminaries and legal watchers as the most stringent (not to say ridiculous) in the history of the judiciary in Nigeria, appeared insurmountable but prominent Igbo sons and daughters rose to the challenge and within a record time the bail conditions were met.
The Oracle Todaygathered that although Senator EnyinnaAbaribe,  beingChairman of the South East Caucus in Senate, was its face, it was actually a formidable group of Igbo sons and daughters that rallied to meet the bail conditions for Kanu and get theIPOB leader out of the dungeon. Prominent members of that group, put together by the South East Senate Caucus, were Deputy Senate President Senator Ike Ekweremadu, Senator EnyinnayaAbaribe and Former Aviation Minister and Corps Marshal OsitaChidoka and other eminent Igbo leaders operating mainly from the FCT.
The group, it was gathered, met the same day Kanu was granted bail, in the house of the Deputy Senate President, who happens to be the South East Leader in the National Assembly, to discuss and agree on how to perfect the bail conditions.
At the meeting, it was resolved that because Kanu hails from Abia State, a senator from his state would stand for his bail and the lot was to fall on Senator Theodore Orji, a former governor who represents the IPOB leader in the Senate but eventually Senator Abaribe was chosen apparently due to his position as the chairman of the South East Senate Caucus. Having resolved that, his (Kanu’s) lawyer was contactedto intimate him.
The resolution of the South East Senators to get involved in the perfection of Kanu’s bail conditions was not surprising when situated against their earlier demands from President MohammaduBuhari in Aso Rock Vila in November last year.  The South East Senate caucus had during meeting demanded among other things the unconditional release of the embattled IPOB leader from detention.
Three sureties who signed his bail bonds were, Chief TochukwuUchendu, Senator Abaribe and Jewish Chief Priest Immanuel El-Shalom Oka-Ben Madu. Several others lke Senator Ike Ekweremadu were said to have worked behind the scene to ensure that Kanu did not stay in prison beyond the week and by Friday everything was perfected and Kanu was out of detention.
The solidarity spirit the IPOB leader enjoyed in the fulfilment of his bail conditions could be likened to the zeal and determination that saw the Igbos prosecute the civil war of the1967 against the Nigerian troops from nothing. It goes to once more demonstrate that the bestof the survival instinct of an Igbo comes out best when he is pressed beyond tolerance.MaziNnamdiKanu’s bail fulfilment indeed turned out a major test case oncemore for the entire Igbo nation, which the nationality passed with A+.
Lawyers speak on bail conditions
Even then, the stringent bail conditions handed down to Kanu by Justice BintaNyako have been widely condemned by lawyers. In a chat withThe Oracle Today in Owerri on the bail conditions, a prominent lawyer and former governorship aspirant in Imo State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Mike Ahamba described the bail conditions as unprecedented and outrageous.
“In my 43 years of legal practice I have not seen such bail conditions before,” he declared. “It’s as if there was intent to make sure they were not fulfilled, and the law is against that.”
The legal luminary, however, added: “Nobody should be worried because his lawyershave said the conditions would be fulfilled…and if they don’t get that done, they can go back to the court and ask for the variation of the terms of condition.”
For his part, Barr Emma Chukwuka, an Owerri-based legal practitioner, said though the bail conditions were onerous and stringent, the most important thing is that Kanu has been granted bail.
Chukwuka said: “He [Kanu] has been given bail, though the conditions are very stringent. But he has promised to meet the bail conditions. The conditions were quitter onerous all the same, but if he cannot meet them he can go back to court and seek for variation.”
Another lawyer, Barr Ken Akpom who reacted to the development from Lagos, said the constitution allows bails to the discretion of the Judge, but such conditions must not be greater than the offence for which the accused is charged.
He said: “There is no doubt that the right to bail is constitutional. It is trite that the right to admit an accused to bail is at the discretion of the court, but such discretion rests on the judge who must exercise it judicially and judiciously. This means that the conditions of the bail must not be excessive with respect to the offence charged.”
He agreed that the bail conditions were onerous, saying that he was shocked that Kanu’s right might have been infringed upon.
“Now, Nnamdikanu is standing trial for an offence of treasonable felony; it is my humble view that the conditions of bail granted him are onerous to the extent that he should not be seen in a gathering of not more than 10 persons. On this alone, I am shocked to note that Mr.Kanus’ right to freedom of worship is being eroded. In fact, he cannot employ more than 10 lawyers in his defense henceforth.
“That, to me is a huge problem and the courts have held in many cases that bail should not be seen as a form of punishment. This is the height of the severity of the conditions to which Mr.Kanu will be subjected, should he perfect the bail.”
He expressed the hope that Kanu’s lawyers would live up to expectations and seek to vary the bail conditions.
“I hope his defence team will appeal to vary the bail conditions soon, else we will find ourselves in a tight corner as this forms part of judicial precedence in future.”
No retreat no surrender
Many had thought that the arrest and prosecution of their leader, NnamdiKanu, would make the youths in Igboland, especially the leadership and members of IPOB and MASSOB, take a deep breath and calm down. But they were not deterred.
Notwithstanding the series of rallies that almost locked down the South East and the South South and which also claimed the lives of so many pro-Biafra agitators, the Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) said that the arrest and detention of Kanu was instead shaping their minds.
Recall that when news of the arrest of Kanu broke, members of IPOB and MASSOB spontaneously embarked on protests in some parts of the Eastern regions of the country, notably in Anambra, Abia, Imo, Rivers and Delta States.
Comrade UcheMadu, the spokesman for a faction of MASSOB, decried what he said was the cowardly arrest and detention of NnamdiKanu.
According to MASSOB: “We see the arrest as part of the price to pay for our non-violence struggle. No agitation is complete without arrest, detention and prosecution. It shapes the minds of activists, drawing sympathy from internal and external observers; it also shows that NnamdiKanu and Radio Biafra have become a factor to reckon with in Nigeria.
“The arrest and detention of NnamdiKanu by DSS will assist immensely in reviving the consciousness and sympathy for Biafra actualization in higher dimension, which was temporarily halted by Ralph Uwazuruike’s deviation and lust for wealth. This singular arrest will cause more diplomatic harm for Nigeria’s image than good.
“Before NnamdiKanu’s arrest, he had succeeded in rooting the Biafra struggle in about 78 countries including Biafra land through Radio Biafra, international tour and secret diplomatic build-up.
“MASSOB warns government to quickly release NnamdiKanu now or face an eruption of Biafra worldwide demonstration and protest which will endanger the already battered image of Nigeria before the International community.”
Ohaneze to convince Kanu to accept restructuring
Meanwhile, the leadership of OhanaezeNdigbomay have concluded plans to meet with NnamdiKanu with a view to convincing him to join in the call for restructuring of Nigeria rather than seek secession.
Deputy National Publicity Secretary of Ohaneze, ChuksIbegbudisclosed this to newsmen. He said: “Ohanaeze will definitely discuss with him (Kanu). Ohanaeze has been making efforts to parley with all the pro-Biafra groups and find a point of agreement with them on these issues.
“Even before now, Ohanaezehad wanted to send a delegation to seeKanuin Kuje Prison. We planned it before he was granted bail. We will engage him and some of his associates so that we can find a common ground. He is our son; we understand him and he will understand us.
“If there are areas of divergence, we will find ways to address them so that we can work together.
“At the planned meeting, Ohanaeze intends to make Kanu understand and appreciate its position, which is the restructuring of the country, rather than secession. Ohanaeze’s position is restructuring and his (Kanu’s) position is secession. We will not tell him to drop his desire for self-determination but we will make him understand that Ohanaeze’s position is the position of the Igbo people.
“He has the right to seek self-determination, but we will make him appreciate Ohanaeze’s position, which is restructuring and social justice. Ohanaeze’s position is the position of the totality of the Igbo people. We will also make him understand that there is no need to insult anybody in the agitation, and no need for violence – of course he has never been violent.
“Restructuring is the only solution to the problems in this country. With restructuring, even the issue of corruption would be addressed. What generates corruption? When the system is suffocating people, when the system is not properly coordinated, people will be stealing here and there.”
My husband will not abandon Biafra struggle – Kanu’s wife
However, Kanu’s wife, UchechiOkwu-Kanu, has said that her husband is not giving up on Biafra struggle.
According to her: “Anybody thinking that my husband will renounce Biafra is certainly mistaken,” she said, adding that “this type of news as distressing as it is, is laughable because no group can postulate what my husband can or cannot do or say. This is not only an insult to our belief but also a despoliation of our rights as a people perpetrated by dishonourable minds.”
Okwu-Kanu made the remarks following the claim by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that the Federal Government was negotiating the possible release of Kanu from prison.
“It is now apparent that the charges against my husband are politically motivated and not a judicial process as President Buhari would have the world believe,” Okwu-Kanu continued.
“This singular act of tyranny and injustice against my husband amongst others is reprehensible to every reasonable mind and is one of the critical reasons for the emergence of the Niger Delta Avenger (NDA) who [had] in their quest consistently called for the release of my husband which President Buhari has underplayed.
“Subsequently, NnamdiKanu should be present at any negotiations and I can refer President Buhari to F.W. de Klerk of South Africa on how to negotiate with a freedom fighter,” she said.
Another May 30 is here…
Meanwhile, IPOB has called on its members to ensure that all roads leading to the South East zone were blocked on 30 May, a day set aside to honour its members who lost their lives during the civil war.
This was made known to newsmen in a statement issued by its spokesperson, Emma Powerful, ordering every Igbo person to sit at home and remember their heroes and heroines past.
According to the press statement: “We should not be discouraged by the court ruling of April 25, 2017. Rather, we should be focused on May 30, 2017 remembrance day, which is the priority of every IPOB member to ensure that no movement of any sort, both human and vehicular, across Biafra land on that day, will take place.
“We must make sure that all areas occupied by Biafrans for the remembrance and honour of our heroes and heroines, who laid down their lives during the genocidal war are shut down.”
“Our leader (Kanu) has been in high spirit since his arrest in 2015 and we cannot afford our spirit to be dampened towards the liberation of Biafra because of conditions attached to his release,” Powerful surmised.
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