A serving senator, Eyinnaya Abaribe, who is one of the three persons standing as sureties for the bail granted the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has appeared in court ahead of the Monday’s hearing in the trial of the IPOB’s leader.
The senator was seated in the courtroom on the fourth floor of the court building where the Monday’s proceedings are to take place.
The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, had on October 17, 2017, ordered Abaribe, and two others standing as sureties to appear in court to explain the IPOB leader’s whereabouts.
Kanu who was granted bail by the judge on April 24, 2017, was absent from court at the previous proceedings when the trial was billed to commence.
His three co-defendants – the National Coordinator of IPOB, Mr Chidiebere Onwudiwe; an IPOB member, Benjamin Madubugwu; and a former Field Maintenance Engineer seconded to the MTN, David Nwawuisi – were produced in court by prison officials.
But Bright Chimezie, who became a co-defendant in the case following an amendment of the charges was also absent.
The new co-defendant was said to be in the custody of the Department of State Service.
Kanu’s lawyer, Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, told the judge on October 17 that Kanu had been missing after soldiers allegedly invaded the IPOB leader’s home on September 14, 2017, adding that the Nigerian Army was in the best position to produce the defendant.
A lawyer, Mr Ogechi Ogunna, appeared for Abaribe informing the judge that his client had filed a motion seeking to be discharged as Kanu’s surety.
The two other sureties, Immanuel Shalum Okabenmabu and Tochukwu Uchendu, were absent from court and not represented by any lawyer on Tuesday.
But Justice Nyako said Abaribe’s motion could not be heard until Kanu was produced in court.
After lawyers representing parties to the case announced their appearances on October 17, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Shuabu Labaran, who was led by Mr Saleh Barkum, noted that Kanu was absent from court.
He urged the court to order the arrest of the IPOB leader for being absent from court on Tuesday.
But Kanu’s lawyer, Ejiofor, told the judge that Kanu was ready to face trial until the military invasion after which he had become missing.