Abuja – Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered a separate trial for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
The court also ordered Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and two others who stood as sureties for Kanu to secure bail on April 25, 2017, to appear in court on March 28 to offer explanation on the whereabouts of the IPOB leader.
Abaribe signed a bail bond of N100 million to secure bail for Kanu.
Onwudiwe Chidiebere, Benjamin Madubugwu, and David Nwawuisi were all arraigned alongside Kanu over allegations of treasonable felony, terrorism-related offences, managing an unlawful society, publication of defamatory matter, illegal possession of firearms, and improper importation of goods.
Apart from Kanu, the others were denied bail.
But in the cause of trial, the Federal Government amended its charge and dropped six counts that bordered on terrorism.
In view of this, the defendants were re-arraigned on five counts.
At a resumed sitting, the prosecuting counsel, Labaran Shuiabu, in view of the fact that the continued absence of Kanu had delayed trial, made an oral application for the trial to be severed.
Labaran stressed that the absence of the 1st defendant (Kanu) since April last year has frustrated progress in the case.
“My Lord, we shall be asking for the indulgence of the court to separate the charges so that progress can be made in the matter”, the Federal Government’s lawyer pleaded.
Lawyers representing the three other defendants did not oppose the separation of their trial from that of Kanu.
Upon the order separating the trial, Labaran requested for a date to enable the Federal Government file an amended charge against the three defendants.
Consequently, the court fixed March 20, 21, and 22 for the re-arraignment of the three defendants based on the amended charge.
Earlier, the Federal Government lawyer had told the court that Tuesday’s proceeding was for Abaribe and the two other sureties to show cause why they would not forfeit the bond for Kanu’s bail, since he was nowhere to be found.
Labaran informed the court that Abaribe’s lawyer wrote, seeking an adjournment of the case because of a matter at the Supreme Court.
Following the disappearance of Kanu, and sensing trouble, Senator Abaribe swiftly filed an application before the Federal High Court, praying for an order compelling the Chief of Army Staff to offset all expenses he incurred in the cause of trial of the IPOB leader.
By the application, Abaribe is demanding an order for payment of damages of N10 million to him for the psychological trauma he had gone through, following the extra-judicial self-help actions of the army Chief of Staff.
On October 17, the trial judge, Justice Binta, ordered that Abaribe and the other sureties appear before the court to show cause why a bench warrant of arrest should not be granted against them.
More so, the court held that Abaribe could only be reclused if he produced Kanu or forfeits the N100 million bail bond.