Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe has told the Court of Appeal in Abuja that his standing surety for the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, is illegal.
Abaribe, in an amended seven grounds notice of appeal filed by his lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), urged the appellate court to relieve him of the role of surety for Kanu.
In the document made available to journalists in Abuja yesterday, Abaribe also asked the Appeal Court to set aside the November 14, 2018 order of the Federal High Court in Abuja which gave him and two others a two-month ultimatum to, each pay N100m bond for their inability to produce the Biafran activist.
Recall that Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja, had in her November 14, 2018 ruling, held that Abaribe and the two other sureties owed the court the duty of producing Kanu, whose absence since 2017 has halted his trial on charges of treasonable felony.
But the senator had also filed a brief of argument to challenge the Federal High Court’s decisions.
Relying on sections 55, 165(3), 167(3) and 488 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, and other provisions of the constitution, Ume argued that a public officer such as a senator was legally exempted from standing surety for a suspect.
The Senator’s lawyer blamed the Federal High Court for making a senator to be 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 honourable 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, ab initio 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, therefore, can see that the involvement of Senator Abaribe in the whole bail and surety quagmire was invalid, ab initio.”
Abaribe and two others had stood as sureties for Kanu before he was granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja on April 25, 2017.
How did the court not notice that a senator is exempted from standing as a surety for a suspect?