The leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, was absent in court on Tuesday morning as his trial for alleged treason continued at an Abuja court.
A senator who stood as surety for Mr. Kanu also asked to be relieved of that role.
Mr. Kanu is facing trial along with three others, and a fourth co-defendant, Bright Chimezie, who is yet to be added to the list of defendants.
The prosecution counsel, Shuabu Labaran, asked the court to revoke Mr. Kanu’s bail following his absence and called on the court to arrest the sureties who stood in for the defendant.
In his reaction, Mr. Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, expressed surprise at the submission of Mr. Labaran.
In a swift response, however, the judge, Binta Nyako, said she had no time for drama.
“You know I don’t like drama. What Mr. Labaran has just said is that the first defendant is not here and because of that I should revoke his bail. Now it’s my turn to ask you: where is your defendant?”
Responding, Mr. Ejiofor said he cannot tell whether Mr. Kanu is still alive or dead.
A mild drama resulting from an array of applications from the defendants and prosecution is currently ongoing.
The senator who stood surety for Mr. Kanu, Eyinaya Abaribe, PDP-Abia, also applied to court to refund the N100 million bond earlier agreed to be given as part of Mr. Kanu’s bail condition.
Mr. Abaribe in his motion cited what he described as the invasion of Mr. Kanu’s residence on September 11, during which a confrontation occurred between IPOB supporters and the Nigerian Army.
According to the motion, Mr. Abaribe said Mr. Kanu has not been seen since the September clashes between soldiers and IPOB members.
“Since the stated visit of the Nigerian Army to the residence of the first defendant from September 11, 2017, the second respondent in this suit (Mr. Kanu) has not been seen in public, neither has he been reported as making any statement on any issue.”
“Since September 20, the reports have been that the federal government has proscribed IPOB, and declared it a terrorist organization.
“The activities of the Nigerian Army as affecting the second defendant are matters of state secret incapable of being unravelled by the applicant, which activities have put the second defendant out of the reach of the applicant, such that the applicant cannot reasonably be expected to produce the second defendant before this court.
“The applicant lacks capacity to produce the person stated by the first respondent (government) as a terrorist or a person who is of interest to the applicant,” Mr. Abaribe said.
Mr. Kanu’s whereabouts has been unknown since September 14 after the IPOB confrontation with the army. While his lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, says he is in the army’s custody, the army and other security agencies say he is not.
Meanwhile, IPOB has said there would be violent confrontation if the federal government fails to provide Mr. Kanu in court.
The group also warned the government not to provoke it into taking up arms by continually keeping Mr. Kanu.
“One outcome is guaranteed in all these, should Nigeria not produce our leader in court on the 17th of October 2017, there will be an inevitable confrontation on a scale the human mind cannot imagine, at a time and place of our choosing.
”By nature we are peace loving people, Nigeria should stop provoking us into armed conflict. They should bring our leader to Court”, Emma Powerful, the group’s spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.
More details later…