IPOB: Judge refuses to order Senator Abaribe’s release

Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe
Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe

An Abuja Division of the Federal High Court has turned down a request for the release of Eyinnaya Abaribe who was arrested by security operatives on June 22.

Mr Abaribe, a senator, is one of the sureties for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamidi Kanu, when the latter was granted bail in April 2017.

Mr Kanu has, however, been missing since September 2017.

His lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the Nigerian army of kidnapping him. The army however denied the allegation, describing it as completely false.

At the previous hearing on Mr Kanu’s case, the judge, Binta Nyako, had ordered all the sureties, including Mr Abaribe, to produce Mr Kanu or go to jail.

But a few days to the trial, Mr Abaribe was arrested by security operatives for alleged links with the IPOB members.

Mr Abaribe has neither been released nor charged to court.

On Tuesday, the defence counsel, Mr Ejiofor demanded his release.

Mr Ejiofor asked the court to order the federal government to release Mr Abaribe, describing his arrest as illegal and unconstitutional.

But in a ruling, Mrs Nyako said she could not give the order for the senator’s release because she was not the one who ordered his arrest.

According to the judge, the circumstances that resulted in Mr Abaribe’s recent arrest were not before her.

She expressed dissatisfaction with counsel on both sides about their manner of handling the case and told them she would not mind prolonging the matter, if they themselves were not serious about carrying it forward.

Mr Abaribe who was escorted to the court by security operatives was not allowed to talk to journalists after the matter.

The situation resulted in a protest, with IPOB members demanding his release.


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