Court orders Abaribe, others to deposit N300m bail bond on Kanu
Abaribe, a Jewish priest, Ben Elshalom and Tochukwu Uchendu had, as part of the bail conditions, undertaken in April last year to produce Kanu, the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, in court to face his trial or forfeit the bail bond of N100million each.
However, since the invasion of Kanu’s home in Abia State in September 2017, during the military Operation Python Dance 2, the whereabouts of Kanu had remained unknown until recently when he disclosed his country of residence.
After several adjournments due to failure to produce Kanu in court, Justice Nyako, in a ruling on an application by the prosecution counsel, ordered the sureties to either produce the defendant in court, get arrested or forfeit the bail bond.
Having failed to produce Kanu in court as directed, Justice Nyako on June 26, 2018 ordered the three sureties to appear in court yesterday to show cause why the bail bond of N100million each should not be forfeited.
When the court resumed yesterday, only one of the sureties, Tochukwu Uchendu was in court.
The prosecution counsel, Labaran Shuiabu, had told the court that the matter was slated for the three sureties
to show cause why the bail bond should not be forfeited.
In his reaction, counsel to Abaribe, Chukwuma Machukwu Umeh (SAN), informed the court that his client went on an oversight function with the Senate Committee on Niger Delta. But the court said Abaribe should have attended the session, as his absence from the oversight function would not have effect on the committee.
Justice Nyako, therefore, insisted that the sureties must produce Kanu in court or forfeit the bond.
Noting that the sureties had written the court indicating their resolve to withdraw their surety, Justice Nyako stated that Kanu’s case is a lesson to others, to be cautious and careful before undertaking to be a surety.
“Before accepting to be a surety for an accused, the person must be somebody you can vouch for, and you can produce at anytime in court,” the judge said.
It took the plea of Abaribe’s counsel and that of the Jewish Priest, Aloy Ejimakor, to persuade the court to rescind its decision of issuing a bench warrant against the sureties.
Rather than order the arrest of the sureties, the court ordered that the bail bond be deposited in the interim in the account of the Federal High Court within two months.
The court also gave the sureties six months to produce Kanu, adding that the order can only be discharged upon reasonable grounds.
The matter has been adjourned to March 28, 2019.
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