By Vivian Okejeme
An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has again adjourned hearing in the trial of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), following a request by the prosecution.
Kanu and three others, David Nwawuisi, Benjamin Madubugwu, and Chidebere Onwudiewe, are facing trial before Justice Binta Nyako for alleged treasonable offences.
Kanu, the first defendant in the matter, was granted bail on health grounds in April, but disappeared five months later with no trace yet of his current location.
His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the Nigerian Army of arresting Kanu during an invasion of his residence in Abia state, but military spokesperson, John Enenche, denied the accusation.
The court had, in a previous hearing in October, given Kanu’s sureties some conditions over his disappearance.
Reacting to an application by one of the sureties, Eyinnaya Abaribe, through his lawyer, Ogechi Ogbonna, that he should be relieved of his role as Kanu’s surety and that the court withdraws its order for a bond of N100 million, Mrs. Nyako said only the appearance of the defendant would prevent a possible forfeiture of the bond.
The sureties were expected to appear in November, but that hearing was stalled due to the engagement of Mrs. Nyako at a conference of judges in Abuja, hence the matter was postponed till yesterday.
However, Kanu’s lawyer said when his team of lawyers arrived at the court yesterday, they found that the lead prosecution counsel, Shaibu Labaran, had written the court seeking an adjournment on the grounds that he had a seminar to attend and would not be able to appear in court yesterday.
“The principal state counsel on the matter, Labaran wrote the court seeking an adjournment. He said he had a seminar to attend. Subsequently, the matter was adjourned till February 20, 2018,” he said.
Labaran could not be reached for comments at the time of going to press.