The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered Senator Eyninnaya Abaribe, and two others to explain the where about of the embattled leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu, who they standing as sureties before the court.
The trial Judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had, on April 24, 2017, granted bail to the IPOB leader in the five-count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, slammed against him alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi and Bright Chimezie by the Federal Government and he (Kanu) failed to report in court on Tuesday, been the day slated for the commencement of his trial along with his co-defendants.
Kanu, who is the first defendant and facing four out of the five count amended charge failed to come to court on Tuesday and and his whereabouts remained unkown, but his three co-defendants were produced in court by prison officials.
Justice Nyako had, in a ruling on April 25, released Kanu on bail after he had spent a year and seven months in detention, though the court okayed his co-defendants to remain in prison custody.
Justice Nyako, who granted Kanu bail on health ground however, compelled him to produce three sureties, including “a Jewish leader” and a “highly placed person of Igbo extraction,” who all deposited N100 million each.
Both Abaribe who is representing Abia South Senatorial District, Immanuel Shalum Okabenmabu and a Chartered Accountant residing in Abuja, Tochukwu Uchendu, had, on April 28, entered an undertaken to produce Kanu before the court to face his trial.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel representing Kanu told the court that Kanu had been missing after soldiers allegedly invaded the IPOB leader’s home on September 14, 2017, adding that the Nigerian Army was in the best position to produce the defendant.
A counsel, Ogechi Ogbona who appeared for Abaribe informed the court on Tuesday, that his client had filed a motion seeking to be discharged as Kanu’s surety.
The two other sureties, Immanuel Shalum Okabenmabu and Tochukwu Uchendu, were absent from court and not represented by any lawyer on Tuesday.
Justice Nyako said Abaribe’s motion could not be heard until Kanu was produced in court and gave the senator three options.
One of the options was for Abaribe to produce the Kanu in court and then apply to be discharged as a surety.
The other option Justice Nyako gave was for Abaribe to be ready to forfeit his N100 million bail bond and the third option was for Senator to request to be given time to produce the defendant in court.
But Abaribe’s counsel told the court that his client is not in a position to do any of the options, but the judge insisted that Abaribe must opt for one of the three option given to him.
With the judge’s insistence, Ogbona opted to be given time to produce him.
Earlier, prosecuting counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, said Kanu was not present in court and urged the judge to revoke his bail, order for his arrest, and direct the defendants’ three sureties “to show cause why the bail bond of N100 million entered into by each shall not be forfeited or they be committed to prison.”
While adjourning the matter till November 20, 2017, the judge declined to hear various applications brought by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants, but however directed prison authorities to allow the 4th defendant access to his personal physician.
Counsel to the fourth defendant, Maxwell Opara had in an application he attempted to move prayed the court to order the prison official to allow his client have access to his personal doctor on grounds that medical personnel at the prison have been threatening the life of his client and as such the 4th defendant no longer have confidence in them.
The judge however, in admonishing the prison officials reminded them that their allegiance is to the court and not to the security agencies, adding that inmates whether sentenced or awaiting trial are held in custody of the court.