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Judge Rejects Abaribe's Application To Be Discharged As Kanu's Surety, Provide Him First

The trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu commenced today and according to details of the proceedings surfacing on net, it has turned more interesting than what it was before. Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday ordered Senator Eyninnaya Abaribe, and two others standing as sureties for the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, to explain the IPOB leader’s whereabouts.

Kanu who was granted bail by the judge on April 24, 2017, was absent from court on Tuesday when his trial was billed to commence. But his three co-defendants were produced in court by prison officials. Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told the judge 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 lawyer, Mr. Ogechi Ogunna, appeared for Abaribe on Tuesday, informing the judge ‎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. ‎

The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial district, Enyinaya Abaribe, has applied to the court to discharge him from the suretyship, bond and recognizance of the bail of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

In an application seen by NAIJ.com and filed against the federal government, Nnamdi Kanu and his co-defendants, Abaribe is asking the court to make an order discharging him as surety of the first defendant - Kanu.

Abaribe prayed the court to discharge him entirely from the incidence relating to the bail of Kanu. He is also asking for a discharge of the bond used for Kanu's bail and a refund of N100 million or any other bond paid to the court sequel to the bail. The grounds upon which Abaribe sought the reliefs include that the Nigerian army during a raid at the residence of the IPOB leader engaged in a fracas with members of the group which has been proscribed by the federal government.

Abaribe said: 

"Since the afore stated visit of the Nigerian army to the residence of the first defendant from September 11, 2017, the second respondent in this suit has not been seen again nor reached on phone bu the applicant neither is he reported in any news media as seen by any person nor made any statement on any issue."

The senator said since September 20, the report in the media is that the first respondent (Federal government ) has proscribed IPOB an organisation led by Kanu and declared the organisation a terrorist organisation. He said security agencies of the federal government are interested in the second respondent.

"The activities of the Nigerian army as affecting the first respondent are matters of state secret incapable of being unravelled by the applicant which activities has put the second respondent out of the reach of the applicant such that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to produce the second respondent before this court at any subsequent date.

"The apllicant lacks capacity to produce a person stated by the first respondent to be ma member of a terrorist organization or any person who the first respondent is reported to be interested in his whereabouts in the aftermath of the military operation in Abia state," Abaribe said in his application," he said.

But Justice Nyako said Abaribe’s motion could not be heard until Kanu was produced in court. The judge gave the senator three options. One of the options was for Abaribe to produce the defendant in court and then apply to be discharged as a surety. The other option the judge gave was for Abaribe to be ready to forfeit his N100m bail bond. The third option ‎was for Abaribe to request to be given time to produce the defendant in court.

But Ogunna replied saying, “he (Abaribe) is not in a position to do any of these.” However the judge insisted tha‎t Abaribe must opt for one of the three options. With the judge’s insistence, Ogunna opted to be given time to produce him.

The two other sureties were not represented I court on Tuesday. Earlier, prosecuting counsel, Mr. Shuaibu Labaran, noting that Kanu was not present in court, urged the judge to revoke defendant’s bail, order for his arrest, and direct the defendants’ three sureties “to show cause why the bail bond of N100m entered into by each shall not be forfeited or they be committed to prison.”

The trial was been adjourned until November 20.

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