By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, yesterday ordered Senator Enyinna Abaribe and other sureties to produce the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, before the court, June 26.
The judge also ordered the federal government to serve an enrollment order to sureties to enable them come before it and show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited.
Justice Nyako had on October 10, 2017 gave the sureties option of forfeiture of the N100million bail bond or be committed to prison if they do not produce Kanu in court, but validated the order on February 20, 2018.
Senator Abaribe, a Jewish High Priest, Emmanu El-Shalom Oka BenMadu, and an accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, stood surety that secured Kanu’s bail.
However, when the matter came up yesterday, the prosecution counsel, Slyvanus Labaran, informed the court the business which was for the sureties of the first defendant, (Kanu) to show cause why their bail bond should not be forfeited.
Responding, counsel to Abaribe, Ume Chukwuma (SAN), told the court that an enrollment order of the court made on the February 20, have not been served on the sureties.
The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial district, through his counsel, premised his argument on Section 179 of the ACJA.
“The prosecution should have enroll an order to the sureties to come and show cause before the court.
“An order is not binding if it is not served on the sureties. I submit that an order should be properly served on the sureties.
“The court cannot take plea without arraignment, so until the order is properly served to the sureties, my client cannot come before the court to show cause.”
Counsel to 2nd and 3rd sureties, Franklin Chude and Alloy Ejimakor respectively aligned with the submissions of Chukwuka, insisting that neither him or his client have been served.
On his part, counsel to Kanu, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, who aligned with the arguments of the learned silk, said that the issue before the court is whether the order have been served on the sureties?
“ The prosecution has not responded if the enroll order of February 20, had been served on the sureties.”
Opposing the defence line of argument, the prosecution urged the court to discountenance the line of objection by the defence and call on the applicants to show cause.
“Justice should not be sacrificed on the alter of technicality.
Abaribe’s counsel has been in this matter since 2017, pursuant to which the court categorically ordered the three sureties to come and show cause as why the first applicant was not able to produce the first defendant(Kanu) for trial.
“I submit that the U-turn the silk has taken is rather belated. It is grossly unfair of this court and the prosecution.
“ I urge the court to discountenance their prayers and proceed with the business of the day.
After listening to the arguments of the parties, Justice Nyako said though it is trite for the prosecution to serve an enrollment order to the sureties, she is of the opinion that parties are not ready for the matter.
“My understanding is that you all are not ready for this matter.
“I am going to make an enrollment order to be served by the sureties to come and sure cause.
“The sureties are to be served the order of this court by the prosecution to come and show cause why their bail bond shall not be forfeited or be committed to prison.
Meanwhile, she adjourned till June 26 for sureties to come and sure cause.
Kanu have been missing since September 14, when the soldiers invaded the IPOB leader’s family compound at Afara-Ukwu village in Umuahia, Abia state in an operation termed “Operation Python dance.”