Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday issued a fresh order to Senator Enyinaya Abaribe and two others to produce the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB}, Nnamdi Kanu, who has jumped bail in court on June 16, 2018 or risk jail terms.
Abaribe, who is representing Abia South Senatorial District at the Senate, Immanuel El-Shalom, a Jewish Chief High Priest and a Chartered Accountant residing in Abuja, Mr. Tochukwu Uchendu, had on April 28, 2017 stood surety for Kanu on N100million bonds each after the defendant was granted bail on health ground.
Justice Nyako issued the fresh order on Wednesday, following complaints by the defence lawyers that the guarantors were not served with an earlier order made in October last year directing them to appear in court and explain the whereabouts of Kanu or show cause why they should not forfeit their bail.
When the matter came up on Wednesday, lawyer to the sureties observed that the court order had not been served on their clients to enable them prepare for their defence. Lawyer to Abaribe, Chukwuma Ume (SAN), whose submission was adopted by other Defence lawyers, urged the court to direct that an enrol order be issued and served on his client by the prosecution.
He argued that the development was in the spirit of fair hearing as enshrined in section 36 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). He said, “I apply that a proper thing be done, that is for a summon to be issued and served on the sureties for them to show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited. ”
The prosecution ought to have taken further steps to obtain an enrol order served on them. This is because a court order that is not served cannot be used against them as it is not binding on them until it is served on them.”
Both Franklin Chude, who appeared for Tochukwu Uchendu, one of the sureties and Alloy Ejimakor, lawyer to Emmanuel El-Shalom, aligned themselves with the submission of Ume (SAN) But Chude drew the court’s attention to an application he filed seeking the setting aside of the ruling of the court, adding that the prosecution counsel has not filed a counter affidavit to the application.
Justice Nyako, however observed that the said application referred to by Chude was not in the court’s file. Responding, prosecuting lawyer Shuaibu Labaran urged the court to discountenanced the submissions of the applicants and proceed with the business of the day, which he said was for the sureties to show cause why they should not forfeit their bail bond In a brief ruling, Justice Nyako ordered that, ” The sureties are to be served with an enrol order of the court to show cause why their bail bonds should not be forfeited and or produce the 1st defendant in court or in the alternative go to prison’.
The Daily Times recalls that the prosecuting lawyer, following the failure of Kanu to appear in court to face his trial, had in an application asked the court to order that the three sureties produce the first defendant or should be made to appear before the court on the next adjourned date to show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited.
Kanu (the first defendant) is facing four out of the five-count amended charge preferred against him and four others whose trial have since been separated from that of Kanu.
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.
But Kanu’s whereabouts has remained unknown after the military reportedly attacked his home town in Abia State last year, a development that has placed his sureties at risk of being sent to prison or forfeiting their bail bonds.