In a ruling in Abuja on March 28, 2018, a federal high court overruled the federal government on the matter of Nnamdi Kanu, the Biafran leader who has been missing since September last year when the Nigerian army carried out military lethal operations at his home at Umuahia in Abia State.
Since Kanu’s trial resumed in October last year after the military attack, Kanu has neither be seen nor heard from. The federal government has since then claimed that this was enough to revoke Kanu’s bail and compel his three sureties to forfeit their bonds.
Conversely, the lawyers to the sureties had consistently advanced the argument that the issue of the military invasion had to be considered first before the issue of breach of bond or Kanu’s trial can ever arise.
On February 20, 2018 when the matter came up for mention, Justice Binta Nyako of federal high court Abuja agreed to severe Kanu’s case from that of his co-defendants, which then set the stage for treating Kanu’s case separately and perhaps properly.
On March 28, when the case came up for a resumed hearing, the Attorney General of the Federation yet again strongly argued for revocation of Mazi Kanu’s bond and issuance of bench warrant against him.
In opposition, counsels for the three sureties jointly argued that a forfeiture proceedings first requires an “enrolled” Show Cause Order before any issue of revocation or bench warrant can arise. The lawyers told the court that their clients are yet to be served with such Order and thus the matter cannot be said to be properly before the court.
In frustration, the Attorney General alleged that the lawyers have “conspired” to raise technical defenses to the matter, whereupon the court took exception to the remark and compelled the AGF to apologize to the lawyers.
In the end, Justice Nyako agreed with the submissions of the lawyers for the sureties and ordered the AGF to properly and timely serve the sureties with an Order to Show Cause in compliance with the rules of procedure.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 26 2019 when lawyers for the sureties will have the first opportunity to introduce direct evidence of the army invasion of Kanu’s house, which has been said to be the proximate cause of his disappearance.
It will be recalled that Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was taken on bail last year on the bond of 100 million Naira each provided by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Jewish Rabbi Immanu El Ben Madu and Tochukwu Uchendu, an accountant. They were represent in court by Barristers Aloy Ejimakor, Chukwuma Machukwu Umeh (SAN), and FC Chude.