A Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, dismissed an appeal filed before it by the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu and two other pro-Biafra agitators, David Nwawusi and Benjamin Madubugwu.
They are being arraigned on six-count charges, bothering on alleged treasonable felony, managing an unlawful society and unlawful possession of firearms.
The trio had gone before the appellate court to challenge the procedure adopted in their trial before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
They alleged that trial Justice John Tsoho was biased in handling the case as he did not only decline to grant them bail, but also permitted the prosecution to shield the identity of eight witnesses billed to testify in the matter.
In a unanimous judgment, a three-man panel of Justices of the appellate court led by Justice Abdul Aboki, dismissed the defendants’ appeal as “grossly lacking in merit”.
The appellate court further declined to order the release of the defendants on bail on the premise that allegations against them are “grievous and serious”.
Reading the lead judgement, Justice Aboki said Kanu’s possession of both Nigerian and British passports increased the likelihood that he could jump bail if released from detention.
On the procedure adopted by the trial court, the appeal court panel maintained that Justice Tsoho had the discretion to decide how the proceeding should be conducted.
“The lower court has the power to exercise its discretion on the matter and the exercise of such discretion by the trial judge did not amount to denial of fair hearing to the defendants.
“The issues are resolved against the appellants. Ruling of the trial court is hereby upheld”, the appellate court held.