Abaribe, Two Others To Forfeit N100m Each Over Ipob Chief Kanu’S Bail

Filed in News by on November 15, 2018

Abia South Senator Enyinnnya Abaribe and two others, who stood surety for the fugitive leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu are to forfeit N100million each for failing to produce Kanu in court.

Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court Abuja gave the order for temporary forfeiture of the N100m bail bond, which each of the sureties signed when they took Kanu on bail in April last year.

The judge ordered that the money be paid within two months. She said the interim forfeiture will last for six months, within which the sureties are to produce Kanu, failing which the forfeiture will become permanent.

Kanu, who is being tried for treasonable felony offence, was granted bail last year, with Abaribe, Jewish leaders Immanuel Shallom Ben and Tochukwu Uchendu standing as his sureties.

At the resumed hearing of the case yesterday, Abaribe and Ben were absent in court. They were also unable to produce Kanu, as earlier ordered by the court.

Abaribe’s lawyer Chukwuma Machukwu-Umeh (SAN), told the court that his client was absent because he went on an oversight function with Senate Committee on Niger-Delta.

Ben’s lawyer, Ejimakor, said his client was critically ill.

Justice Nyako, who was not convinced by the excuses given for the two sureties’ absence, threatened to order their arrest.

The Judge was particularly angry with Abaribe, who she observed, chose to embark on an oversight function despite being aware of a court summon against him.

Justice Nyako said: “I shall order his arrest. I am taking today’s proceeding very serious. The sureties have taken this court for granted for too long.

“The appearance of the sureties is between them and the court, not even the prosecution,” she said.

The judge noted that the sureties had signed an undertaking to always produce Kanu whenever the court wants him. She observed that the sureties had failed in this regard since late last year.

In her ruling, Justice Nyako changed her mind on the threat to order the arrest of the sureties.

She however said: “The court hereby orders the sureties to deposit the bail bond of N100m with the court within two months from today.

“The order is going to be pending in the interim for six months.”

The judge said the interim forfeiture order would subsist for six months during which the sureties must produce Kanu or be able to convince the court, with evidence, of their inability to produce the IPOB leader in court, failing which the money will be permanently forfeited.

Justice Nyako said: “If you convince the court that the court should release the bail bond to you, I will release it.”

The judge, who acknowledged applications by the sureties, seeking to be excused as Kanu’s sureties, insisted that Abaribe, Ben and Uchendu must produce the fleeing IPOB leader before the burden of being a surety could be lifted off them.

The judge adjourned both this case and the trial of Kanu’s co-accused (who are now being tried separately) to March 26 and 28 next year.

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