Senator Abaribe asks appeal court to nullify his standing as a surety for fugitive Nnamdi Kanu

SENATOR Eyinnaya Abaribe has asked the Federal Appeal Court to nullify his standing as surety for the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) leader Nnamdi Kanu because he can no longer guarantee that the accused will appear when summoned.


Currently the lawmaker representing the Abia South Senatorial District, Senator Abaribe has stood as surety for Mr Kanu when he was granted bail in 2017. However, since being released from detention, Mr Kanu has not only flouted his bail conditions but has absconded and last year appeared at the Wailing Wall in Israel where he is believed to still reside.


Yesterday, Senator Abaribe asked the appeal court in Abuja to relieve him of the role of surety for Mr Kanu as a result. In an amended seven grounds notice of appeal filed by his lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, the senator also asked the court to set aside the November 14, 2018 order of the Federal High Court in Abuja which gave him and two others a two-month ultimatum to, each pay N100m bond for their inability to produce the Biafran activist.


In her November 14, 2018 ruling, Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had held that Senator Abaribe and the two other sureties owed the court the duty of producing Mr Kanu, whose absence since 2017 has halted his trial on charges of treasonable felony. Quoting sections 55, 165(3), 167(3) and 488 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (Acja), and other provisions of the constitution, Mr Ume argued that a public officer such as a senator was legally exempted from standing surety for a suspect.


He blamed the Federal High Court for making a senator to be part of the sureties Mr Kanu must present in April 2017. Senator Abaribe and two others had stood as sureties for Mr Kanu before he was granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja on April 25, 2017.


Mr Ume said: “The honourable trial court failed and or refused to take judicial notice of the relevant provisions of the Acja and the Nigerian constitution. Thus the honourable trial court had not done the needful under the law, otherwise it would have found that by law, the appellant, a senator, is legally exempted, ab initio from giving security for the good conduct or behaviour of a suspect.


“It is trite law that where a valid act or law clearly states something, it is not within the powers of the court to go contrary to it. We, therefore, can see that the involvement of Senator Abaribe in the whole bail and surety quagmire was invalid, ab initio.”


On June 22, 2018, Senator Abaribe was arrested by Department of State Security operatives at his barber shop at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja over the Ipob matter. He was subsequently taken to his house for a search and was later to the DSS detention in Abuja but was released on Tuesday June 26 on bail.