Nollywood actress Rita Edochie has reacted after the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, appealed for peace and calm in ‘Biafraland’ following his fresh bail application denial.
Justice Nyako on Tuesday adjourned the case of the pro-Biafra activist till 14 November 2022, pending the determination of the Appeal Court.
This came after the Biafra agitator filed a fresh application seeking his release on bail pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge the Federal Government preferred against him, but the case was dismissed when it came up on the Tuesday hearing.
Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, is being tried for allegedly running an illegal group, treason, and jumping bail.
Nnamdi Kanu speaking after the ruling, condemned the wave of violent crimes, including murder and arson that have practically plagued the South Eastern region of the country.
The 54-year-old said, “I want our people to be very calm. I want Biafraland to be calm and peaceful; calm and very very peaceful.”
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Kanu also reiterated that the agitations were aimed at securing and defending the lives of his countrymen.
“We are fighting to defend our people not to kill them; not to kill them, that is why I am here and I will continue to do so until we get victory.”
Reacting to the development, Rita Edochie, via her Instagram handle, shared a video of Nnamdi Kanu in court earlier today, appealing for calm among his supporters.
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Nnamdi Kanu, in the video, could be heard saying he wants the entire region to remain peaceful, pointing out that he is fighting to defend the people and not kill them.
She captioned the video; ”LISTEN TO ONYE NDU ANYI. MAZI NNAMDI OKWU KANU.
“WE ARE FIGHTING TO DEFEND OUR PEOPLE, NOT TO KILL THEM, AND THAT IS THE REASON HE IS BEING DETAINED. SO STOP KILLING UNDER THE DISGUISE OF IPOB. IT IS WELL WITH YOU, MY GREAT BROTHER. I LOVE YOU.”
IPOB, Ohanaeze reacts
Meanwhile, IPOB has, however, attributed the development to what it described as the body language of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who, it recalled, had ruled out bail option for its leader during his recent visit o Kigali, Rwanda.
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The fresh bail application was filed pending the determination of the treasonable felony charge against him by the Federal Government.
Kanu, who is currently facing seven-count, had in the application he filed through his team of lawyers led by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), also challenged the revocation of the bail the court earlier granted to him.
He asked the court to set aside the order it made on March 28, 2019, which not only issued a bench warrant for his arrest, but also gave the Federal Government the nod to try him in absentia.
Dismissing the bail request on Tuesday, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, said she was not satisfied with the reason the IPOB leader gave for his failure to appear in court for continuation of his trial.
While delivering her ruling in a motion on notice asking for revocation of the arrest warrant upon his re-arrest, Justice Nyako held that the motion lacked merit because Kanu had not explained his whereabouts for over two years when he jumped bail.
The judge dismissed Kanu’s claims that he was denied fair hearing because the order for his arrest was issued in his absence.
Justice Nyako held that Kanu was adequately represented in court when the Federal Government applied for the warrant of arrest and that his surety, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, was also in court.
The court said Kanu who jumped bail granted him on health ground cannot turn around to make allegations of lack of fair hearing.
Justice Nyako while dismissing the motion upheld the arrest warrant against the self and IPOB leader.
In an interview with The PUNCH after the court ruling, IPOB’s spokesman, Emma Powerful, said the group was not surprised, having seen outcome through the President’s body language and utterances.
He said Buhari’s comment on the matter in Kigali was aimed at intimidating the judge to dismiss the bail application.
He said, “Buhari’s recent statement in Kigali, Rwanda was a testament that he has lost focus because he said he won’t interfere in the judicial process on Nnamdi Kanu, but was talking with both sides of his mouth.
“IPOB understands the body language of Buhari and his Federal Government that they will influence Justice Binta Nyako to drop bail applications for Nnamdi Kanu’s freedom.
“But we are ready to wait for them. We want to use this medium to inform humanity, particularly Biafrans to stay calm and that victory must come to us.”
The Secretary, South-East Zone of Ohanaeze, Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene, also attributed the court’s verdict to Buhari’s statement.
In an interview also with The PUNCH, Okeke-Ogene said, “If you assess the President’s comments and utterances before today’s court sitting, you will understand that he was not interested in releasing the young man because he knows that doing so will bring happiness to the people of the South-East, who are longing for his release.
“Although, the court has adjourned the matter, but Buhari’s recent utterances in the build up to the court sitting greatly influenced the decision of the court and the President knows that keeping Kanu means that the insecurity in the South-East will continue because the people see him as their idol and they want him released.”
Also, the Coalition of South- East Youth Leaders has also expressed its displeasure over the court’s ruling.
The group’s President General, Goodluck Ibem, made its position known in a statement made available.
The statement read in part, “The verdict of Justice Binta Njako is the same statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, June 23, 2022 during a bilateral meeting with the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson, at the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kagali, Rwanda.
“When did the statement of the President become the verdict or judgment of the court? Are we running a democratic government or a unitary system of government were only one man determines the fate of millions of Nigerians even when it is unconstitutional, undemocratic and inhuman?”