Free me as Kanu’s surety – Sen. Abaribe begs Court

One of the senators representing Abia State in the Senate, Eyinnaya Abaribe, has approached the Abuja division of the Court of Appeal, to relieve him of his earlier position as a surety to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

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In his appeal before the appellate court, Abaribe contended that his continuous standing as surety for Kanu as a sitting senator is illegal.

In addition, he asked the court to set aside the November 14, 2018, decision of the Federal High Court, Abuja, directing him and other sureties to pay the sum of N100 million bail bond each within two months having failed to produce Kanu in court.

Justice Nyako in her November 14, 2018 ruling, had held that Abaribe and the two other sureties owed the court the duty to produce Kanu, whose absence since September 2017, had stalled his trial on charges of treasonable felony brought against him by the Federal government.

However, in an amended notice of appeal filed by his counsel, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), Abaribe has asked the court to set aside the decision the Federal High Court.

He rooted his appeal on Sections 55, 165(3), 167(3) and 488 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and other provisions of the constitution, to argue that a public officer such as a senator was legally exempted from standing surety for a suspect.

Ume who filed the processes blamed the Federal High Court for making a senator part of the sureties Kanu must present in April 2017.

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 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 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 can see, therefore, that the involvement of Senator Abaribe in the whole bail and surety quagmire was invalid from the beginning,” Ume said.

The two-month ultimatum given to Abaribe is bound to lapse on January 14, but before then, the senator and the other two sureties, Emmanuel Shallom-Ben and Tochukwu Uchendu, had filed separate appeals against the November 14, 2018 order.

Abaribe in his appeal, canvassed that the Federal High Court on its own, made “an order of interim forfeiture without considering or evaluating” all the applications filed before it by the sureties.

He added that the trial court acted without jurisdiction when on its own, it made an interlocutory order that in substance rendered the core issue in the substantive matter a nullity.

Meanwhile, the Federal High Court has fixed March 28 for continuation of the matter.

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