By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, yesterday, granted N40 million bail to four members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra agitators, Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi.
The defendants who were granted N10million with two sureties each, are answering a treasonable felony charge alongside the self-acclaimed leader Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, now at large.
Ruling on their fresh bail applications which they filed following their re-arraignment on March 20, 2018, Justice Nyako, said she is granting the bail applications based on health grounds and the number of years they had spent in detention.
She also noted that Chimezie had earlier been granted bail by the Federal High Court in Uyo in May 2017, but the Department of State Service which was then holding him in custody refused.
She said the defendants had spent an average of three years in custody when the maximum penalty for the offences they were charged if convicted ranged from five to seven years.
Granting them bail, the trial judge held that the bail money should be deposited in cash to the Chief Registrar of the Court, adding that they surrender all their travelling documents and not travel without leave of the court.
The bail conditions also read that the defendant surties will swear an affidavit of means. The court as well barred them from attending any form of rally, press conference or granting interviews.
The judge also ordered the defendants to report to the Commissioners of Police in their various states of residence every two weeks.
Specifically, she ordered Chimezie(1st defendant) to report to the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, while Onwudiwe and Nwasuisi(2nd and 3rd defendant) to the Commissioner of Police in Enugu State and Madubugwu(4th) to report to the Commissioner of Police in Anambra State.
The case was subsequently adjourned till November 14 for trial. In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, FG, alleged that the four defendants, alongside Kanu (now at large) and others at large, “on diverse dates in 2014 and 2015 in Nigeria and London, United Kingdom, did conspire amongst yourselves to broadcast on Radio Biafra monitored in Enugu and other areas within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, preparations being made by you and others at large, for states in the South-East and South-South zones and other communities in Kogi and Benue States to secede from the Federal Republic of Nigeria with a view to constituting same into a Republic of Biafra and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C77, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004”.