Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader, Nnamdi Kanu became legally a fugitive as he was conspicuously absent in court when his trial resumed in Abuja today.
Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja, who earlier gave the secessionist campaigner bail has fixed November.20 for his sureties to produce him.
One of the sureties is Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe. Others are Immanuel Madu and Torchokwu Uchendu.
Nyako gave the order on Tuesday when Mr Ifeanyi Ejiofor, counsel to Kanu, told the court he could not explain the whereabouts of his client.
Kanu, whose bail was perfected by the voluntary endorsement of the three sureties failed to appear in court to stand his trial.
Nyako said the sureties’ failure to produce Kanu would compel the court to invoke the forfeiture of their N100 million bail bond each.
“The trial of Kanu and his co-defendants was fixed for October 17, but reports from both the prosecuting and defendant’s counsel show that Kanu is absent.
“The sureties that helped to perfect his bail conditions are solely accountable for his presence for trial. These sureties are therefore, given time to produce him for trial.
“In the event that they are unable to produce him, the court shall go on to invoke the remaining options left to it,’’ she said.
Earlier, Mr Mohammed Labaran, the prosecuting counsel had moved an application praying the court to grant a bench warrant for Kanu’s arrest.
He said the defendant had flouted all the bail conditions spelt out for him by the court.
The counsel to Kanu, Ejiofor objected to such application, adding that he had filed a suit against the Chief of Army Staff on the whereabouts of Kanu.
Ejiofor had claimed that the military’s invasion of his client’s home on July 11 led to his disappearance, adding that the military was in the best position to disclose the whereabouts of Kanu.
Similarly, Mr Ogechi Ogbonna, counsel to Abaribe moved a motion seeking court’s approval for the withdrawal of his client’s consent as Kanu’s surety.
Ogbonna said his client was not in a position to tell the whereabouts of the defendant at the moment.
He further said Abaribe was no longer interested in offering his consent to serve as Kanu’s surety in view of recent happenings.
The judge, therefore, gave Ogbonna options ranging from automatic forfeiture of his client’s N100 million bail bond to being given time within which to search for Kanu.
Ogbonna, having received the hint of the court, selected the latter option.
Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu and David Nwawuisi are standing trial along with Kanu on a five-count charge of conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and publication of defamatory materials.