By Vivian Okejeme
The trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has been adjourned till December 5, with the court insisting that the defendant’s sureties either produce him or explain his disappearance to the court.
The Abuja Division of Federal High Court, presided over by judge, Mrs. Binta Nyako, had in October adjourned the matter till yesterday in expectation of the appearance of the sureties.
She had further given instructions that the sureties had three options regarding their roles in the disappearance of the IPOB leader.
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 withdraw its order for a bond of N100 million, Mrs. Nyako submitted that only the appearance of the defendant would prevent a possible forfeiture of the bond.
“Even if you apply from today till next year, this court will only have one of these three options for you: produce the defendant, pay the bond or demand for time to come and explain to court.
“Once you sign to be somebody’s surety, that person automatically becomes your responsibility,” she said.
Kanu was last seen on September 14, months after he was granted conditional bail specifically on April 25 based on health grounds.
His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the Nigerian Army of invading Mr. Kanu’s residence in Abia state and kidnapping him (Kanu).
The allegation was, however, denied by military spokesperson, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche.
On the next possible line of action to be taken by the authorities, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ahmed Raji, said the “simple thing to do would be to declare the defendant wanted.”
“It’s simple what the court can do is to declare him wanted. I don’t think the court can do anything more than what it has mentioned in its conditions to the sureties,” he said.
However, yesterday the court shifted the date for its hearing of the sureties’ explanations till December, following the current engagement of judges at a conference in Abuja.