Lawyers yesterday said the bail bond entered by Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe and two others who stood as sureties for the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu cannot be recovered under the law even as the fleeing Biafra agitator showed up in an Abuja High Court after being arrested and brought back into the country on Sunday by the Federal Government.
The lawyers, who spoke with New Telegraph, premised their submission on the arrest of Kanu by the FG and subsequent presentation to court after the six months the court gave had expired. The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja had in November 2018 ordered Senator Abaribe and two others who stood as sureties for Kanu, to temporarily forfeit the N100 million they each put down as bail bond. Justice Binta Nyako also ordered that the N100 million bail bond should be converted into cash and deposited with the registrar of the court. The court ordered that the money should be paid within two months of the order and would be permanently forfeited if after six months they are unable to produce the IPOB leader to face his trial. In his reaction, a Public Interest Lawyer, Dr. Abdul Mahmud said in as much as there is a pending court judgment which Abaribe and others have not challenged.
“The order of court directing that the bail bond should be forfeited after six months is still pending and it cannot be reversed outside another order of court of competent jurisdiction. “The court has a final say on this. But I think Abaribe can’t still go back to court to file for an extension of time to challenge the order of permanent forfeiture,” he said.
A law lecturer, Abiodun Adeleye in his own reaction submitted that in as much the time given to Abaribe has elapsed and yet he did not produce Kanu then, he (Abaribe) stands to forfeit his N100 million. “A court order stands until it is set aside by a superior court. In this matter, to the best of my knowledge, no superior court has set aside the judgement of his Lordship, Binta Nyako. “The judgement was delivered in 2018 and this 2021.
It has been almost three years after. Abaribe and two others cannot go back to the court to challenge the order. “What stops them is the time as contained in the judgment. “Also, the return of Kanu with the information available in the public domain is not linked to them. “In my own opinion, the N100 million bail bond which must have been converted to cash is permanently forfeited,” he explained. Kanu was arrested in 2015 on an 11-count charge bordering on terrorism and treasonable felony. Six of the charges, including that of terrorism, were struck out early in 2017.
Senator Abaribe, a Jewish priest, Emmanuel Shallon-Ben and Tochukwu Uchendu had stood as sureties for Kanu on April 24, 2017, after the court granted him bail on health grounds. This was after spending 11 months in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS). In granting Kanu bail, Justice Nyako asked him to produce three sureties with N100 million each. Nyako said one of the sureties must be a senior highly placed person of Igbo extraction such as a Senator. She held that the other surety must be a highly respected Jewish leader since Kanu said his religion was Judaism, while the third person must be a highly respected person who owns landed property and is resident in Abuja.
Abaribe, mute over Kanu’s arrest
Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, yesterday kept mute over reports that the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu had been arrested and repatriated to Nigeria. As the news of Kanu’s repatriation took over the airwaves, New Telegraph sought reaction from Abaribe but met a brick wall. Special Assistant to Abaribe on Media Affairs, Uche Awom, told New Telegraph that his principal will not make any comments on the issue. According to him, the matter was before a court of competent jurisdiction and there was no need for the lawmaker to comment on it. According to Awom, the court had already freed Abaribe of the surety burden when it struck out the case of the bail bond. It could be recalled that Abaribe and two others stood as sureties for Kanu before he was granted bail by the Federal High Court in Abuja on April 25, 2017. Later, Kanu fled Nigeria after soldiers deployed under the Operation ‘Python Dance II’ invaded his home in Afara-Ukwu, Umuahia, Abia in September 2017.
How DSS, NIA, INTERPOL, MET Police rearrested IPOB leader, Kanu – Sources
There are strong indications that the rearrest of fugitive leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, was a product of discreet collaboration among local and international security and intelligence agencies. New Telegraph gathered from highly-placed sources, that the Department of State Services (DSS), National Intelligence Agency (NIA), International Police Organisation (INTERPOL), as well as Metropolitan (Met) Police, ensured the arrest and subsequent extradition of Kanu to the country.
A Federal High Court in Abuja is expected to resume the trial of the IPOB’s leader on charges of treasonable felony. Though sources said Kanu was apprehended in London, the United Kingdom (UK), unconfirmed reports claimed the development happened in a South American country. It was, however, learnt that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), coordinated the extradition process.
“I’m pleased to inform you that the return of that fugitive (Kanu) was made possible through the DSS,NIA, INTERPOL and the MET Police. “They were coordinated on the diplomatic score by the Hon. AGF, who is the face of the government, in matters of this nature”, one of the sources said in confidence. In the face of this, however, a constitutional lawyer of no mean repute and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay, has provided insight into the processes leading to the extradition of a fugitive to their mother-country. This was even as the Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) confirmed the possible involvement of the aforementioned security and intelligence agencies.
The PACAC chairman, who was reluctant to speak on Kanu’s re-arrest, said: “In a sense, it’s a straightforward thing. “When someone is in another jurisdiction, and your own government in another jurisdiction thinks he has done something, committed an offence in your jurisdiction, and you want him back, you apply to the foreign office of the other government, and then let them get their Attorney General to look at your letter, and then review the offence that he was alleged to have committed. “Because, the details will be in the letter of the requesting country.
“And if they feel there is substance in it, they will then apply to the court, to have him extradited to the complaining country. “When they (complaining country) make that application, of course, he, the person whose extradition is being applied for, will now be given an opportunity to hire his own lawyer, and then make a case to show that he is not extraditable, or that he has not committed an offence for which he should be extradited. “So, there will be a case in court between the two sides”. He continued: “And at the conclusion of that case, the judge will then rule whether a case has been made for the extradition, or not.
“If he rules that a case has been made, then the person will be extradited.” When asked to state the involvement of the Department of State Services (DSS, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), International Police Organisation (INTERPOL), as well as the Metropolitan Police, in the arrest and subsequent extradition of the fugitive, Sagay said: “Oh yes, the complaining country now has to provide the evidence, including witnesses, in order to convince the requested country to which the request is made, that there is a good ground for the extradition.”
When New Telegraph further asked the professor of law to be categorical on the role of the earlier- mentioned security and intelligence agencies, he had this to say: “Well, I can’t say that they were involved, hut I’m saying theoretically, in a situation like that, one or all of them could be involved.
“Because, the court needs information; even the Ministry of Justice of the requesting country, will be involved, to coordinate that application. “In fact, the letter would have been written by the Attorney General of the requesting country. “So, yes, all of those people (DSS, NIA, INTERPOL, MET Police), could be involved, but I do not know who was involved in this particular case.”