Update: Court Orders Sen. Abaribe to Produce Kanu Or…

A Federal High Court in Abuja, Tuesday, ordered Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe, representing Abia South in the Senate to produce Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) or forfeit bail bond of N100m.
Justice Binta Nyako gave the order when Kanu failed to appear before the court for trial in the allegations of promoting activities of illegal organisation.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday Kanu was absent in court prompting the trial Judge to give the order.
Counsel to Abaribe, Ogechi Ogbonna, had wanted to move an application, seeking his client’s intention to withdraw his surety for Kanu.
But the Judge told him that at this point in time Abaribe cannot wash his hands off the case
“Before he can wash off his hands the defendant has to be here.”
The Judge thereafter gave the sureties three options. One was to produce Kanu in court at the next adjourned date, second was to forfeit his bail bond of N100m, and third to have more time to locate his whereabouts.
The counsel opted for the third option and pleaded “We have been unable to produce him, give us time to look for him”
Justice Nyako had on April 25, 2017, granted Kanu bail on health grounds.
Among other bail conditions, Kanu was to present medical report on progress of his health to the court monthly.
He was to produce three sureties, one respected practitioner of Judaism, a respected person of Igbo extraction and a person who resides in Abuja and owns landed property.
Each surety was to sign bail bond of N100m.
He was also restrained from making political statement and not to be seen in the midst of not more than 10 people.
Kanu was ordered to surrender his Nigerian and British international passports to court.
Kanu’s co-defendantss were, however, denied bail by the court which described charges against them as very serious.
The Federal Government had filed 11 charges the defendants out of which six were struck out by Justice Nyako on March 2, 2017.
The accused persons charged along with Kanu are the National Coordinator of IPOB, Chidiebere Onwudiwe; an IPOB member, Benjamin Madubugwu; and a former Field Maintenance Engineer on secondment to the MTN, David Nwawuisi.
When the matter resumed Tuesday, Justice Nyako refused to entertain further applications on the matter, adding that until the first defendant (Kanu) was present in court the trial would be unable to continue.
She thus made an order that the sureties should come and show the court why the first defendant was not in court., “Why I should not issue warrant of arrest against them, or why the bail bond (N100m) should not be forfeited”
Earlier Kanu’s counsel Ifeanyi Ejiofor had wanted to explain to the court circumstances leading to Kanu’s absence but the Judge said she was not interested, prompting her to ask Ejiofor “Where is your Client?” And Ejiofor replied “My Lord I don’t know his whereabouts. The military is in better position to state his whereabouts”
Ejiofor explained that his client was willing to attend his trial until the events of September 14 when soldiers invaded Kanu’s Afaraukwu home .
But Justice Nyako stopped him on grounds that was not the issue before the court.
The prosecuting counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, had told the court that the case was slated for trial.
Labaran said “The case was adjourned for hearing today. We are supposed to commence trial. We have an amended charge, additional information dated and filed June 21, 2017.
“Given the circumstances of th absence of the first defendant, we are afraid that the trial may not hold in the interest of justice.
Before then, the first defendant who was granted bail on April 25 , 2017 on grounds of ill health and given order to attend to his medical challenge and report back to the court on monthly basis on his health condition, failed to do so.
“He never did. In the wisdom of the court, one of the bail conditions is that he should not be in midst of more than 10 people, which he flouted.
“However, failure to attend today’s proceedings is a breach of the bail condition.
“We therefore urge this court to revoke his bail, issue a bench warrant for his arrest, order his sureties Eyinnaya Abaribe, Emmanuel Shalum, Oka Ben Madu, Tochukwu Uchendu, to show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited, and commit them to prison.”
Meanwhile, counsel to the second, third defendant wanted a separate trial for their clients but the Judge rejected all the applications, saying the first defendant must be in court before any further action is taken on the case. She held that in a criminal trial all parties must be in court for the case to go on.
Efa Oka, second defendant’s counsel sought order to make a personal doctor attend to his his failing heath but the Judge refused saying until the prison’s medical team write to the effect that it was unable to handle his case.
She adjourned till November 20 for continuation of trial.
The Federal Government is prosecuting the defendants on a five-count criminal charge bordering on treasonable felony.

Author: News Editor

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