Judge’s Absence Stalls Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial


Abaribe demands N10m compensation from Nigerian Army
Alex Enumah in Abuja
The trial of leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, was yesterday stalled following the absence of the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako.

Kanu and three others are being prosecuted by the federal government on charges of alleged treasonable felony.
At the last adjournment, Kanu was absent in court and his counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told the court he doesn’t know the whereabouts of his client following the invasion of his home by soldiers on September 12, 2017.
Ejiofor added that he cannot tell if Kanu was alive or dead as he has not seen or heard from him since the attack by the army.

One of Kanu’s sureties, Senator Enynnaya Abaribe, similarly told the court the same story and asked to be discharged from the surety he stood for Kanu.
Responding, Justice Nyako declined listening to Abaribe until he has produced Kanu in court.
She adjourned the trial till yesterday to enable the senator produced the defendant in court or in the alternative forfeit the bail of N100million granted the defendant.

However, the trial could not go on yesterday as the judge was said to be attending judges conference in Abuja.
While Kanu was again absent in court, Abaribe was however present.
Both the prosecution and defence counsel also appeared for the trial while the second and third defendants were produced in court by the prison officials.

Meanwhile, Abaribe has filed an application before a Federal High Court in Abuja, praying for an order compelling the Chief of Army Staff to offset all expenses he incurred in the cause of Kanu’s trial.

Abaribe is also seeking compensation in the sum of N10million as damages for the psychological trauma he claimed he went through following the extra-judicial self-help actions of the Army Chief of Staff.
Abaribe is one of the sureties who signed a bail bond of N100million to secure bail for Kanu, who is being prosecuted by the federal government.

On October 17, the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had ordered that Abaribe and the other sureties should appear on November 20 to show cause why a bench warrant should not be issued against them.
More so, the court held that Abaribe can only be reclused if he produces Kanu or forfeits the N100m bail bond.

But in the motion on notice filed by Abaribe, he is also praying for “an order of the court compelling the Chief of Army Staff, on failure to produce 1st defendant/2nd respondent, to pay to the court the sum in the bail bond earlier executed by the applicant on behalf of 1st defendant/2nd respondent.

“An order of the court compelling the Chief of Army Staff to produce 1st defendant/2nd respondent before the court and or to explain to the satisfaction of the court the circumstance surrounding his whereabouts.

“An order of court compelling the Chief of Army Staff to show cause why the Attorney General of the Federation should not be compelled to initiate contempt proceedings against him for his extra-judicial self-help conducts that have obviously frustrated the proceedings and course of administration of justice and which actions have brought the court to some ridicule and its power appears nugatory as well as placing the applicant in a fixed up position.”

Further hearing of the case has been adjourned till December 5.