Alex Enumah in Abuja
A Federal Hgh Court in Abuja Wednesday ordered Senator Eyinnanya Abaribe and two other sureties to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to deposit the total sum of N300 million with the registrar of the court in lieu of the bail bond they entered for Kanu.
The amount was ordered to be deposited within two months by the sureties who in six months would be expected to show cause while the order should not be made absolute.
Abaribe, Tochukwu Uchendu and Emmanuel Shalom Ben, a Jewish priest had stood surety for Nnamdi Kanu as part of conditions for his bail granted by Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja on April 28, 2017.
Trouble however, arose for Abaribe and others when Kanu’s whereabouts remained a mystery to them.
The whereabouts of Kanu and his parents became speculative since September 14, 2017 when soldiers of the Nigerian Army invaded their native home in Umuahia, Abia State.
Both counsel to the sureties and the federal government have continued to trade blames regarding the disappearance of Kanu, with government saying he escaped from the country while sureties claimed he was either killed or being held by the military.
Consequently , trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako ordered the sureties to produce Nnamdi Kanu or forfeit their bail bond.
When the matter came up yesterday, the judge who was told by the sureties that the whereabouts of the IPOB leader still remains unknown to them, ordered the sureties to each in the interim deposit the sum ofN100 million with the court in lieu of the bail condition they entered for the IPOB leader.
Justice Nyako also ordered that the N100 million bail bond should be converted into cash and deposited with the registrar of the court.
The order of the court followed the absence in court of the 1st and 3rd sureties, Senator Abaribe and Tochukwu Uchendu, respectively.
While Abaribe’s Counsel, Chukwuema Machukwu Umeh (SAN) told the court that the 1st surety was not in court because he had gone on oversight function, counsel to the third surety, Franklin Chude, said the absence of the 3rd surety was occasioned by illness.
However, this did not go down well with Justice Nyako. While she noted that the sureties were taking the court for granted, the judge threatened to issue bench warrant against the sureties, adding that, “they are taking the court for a ride”
She observed that Abaribe’s absence will not have affected the oversight function of the Senate, if he chooses to honour the order of the court.
The judge however held that the applications of the sureties to opt out will not succeed, until they produce the IPOB leader in court.
Counsel to the second surety, Alloy Ejiamakor, on his part sought for leave to give evidential evidence why the sureties were unable to produce the defendant in the spirit of fair hearing.
According to him, the order of the court for the sureties to show cause is for them to be heard.
Justice Nyako subsequently adjourned the matter till March 28, 2019 for continuation of hearing.