A Federal High Court in Abuja has given an order for the arrest of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu for failing to appear in court.
Following his arrest, Nnamdi Kanu who was charged with offences amounting to treasonable felony will be tried in his absence.
Speaking about the court’s order which was given on Thursday, the Judge who gave the order, Justice Binta Nyako explained that the IPOB leader breached the the provisions of Section 352(4) of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, when he failed to present himself to the court on April 25, 2017 without substantial reason and explanation.
Meanwhile, the Chief prosecuting counsel for the state, Mr. Magaji Labaran orally applied for the order on Thursday following proceedings.
Nnamdi Kanu’s counsel, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor had opposed the state counsel’s application, asking the court to give the defence more time to file all the necessary papers to give reasons why Kanu failed to appear in court.
Mr. Ifeanyi explained that Kanu’s disappearance was as a result of the military invasion at his home during the ‘Operation Python Dance’ military operation held in the southeast to quell the Pro-Biafra agitation.
However, the judge noting that there was no connection between Kanu’s disappearance and the military operation overruled Mr. Ejiofor’s objection.
The judge also noted that Kanu violated the terms and conditions of the bail granted him earlier on April 17, 2017. She said that Kanu failed to appear in court on October 17, 2017 when requested.
She cited that the three people who guaranteed Kanu’s bail earlier applied to the court to withdraw their suretyship because they could not account for his whereabouts in October 2017.
Justice Binta continued that since the IPOB leader’s bail in April 2017, he has failed to appear in court for four sessions which required his presence.
Speaking on Thursday Justice Bunts said, “I have given the counsel for the defendant more than enough time to produce him in court. Therefore, by virtue of Section 252(4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, the only option open to do is to order that the trial will continue in his absence.“
“Also, in the absence of any reasonable explanation for his absence, I hereby revoke his bail and order that a bench warrant be issued for his arrest.” She said.
Finally, the court fixed June 18 for trials to begin without Kanu.
Nnamdi Kanu has been seen making appearances online as speculations claim that he has been on a religious visit to Israel since last year.
Mr. Kanu’s counsel, Ejiofor has vowed to appeal the court’s ruling for his client’s arrest and trial in absentia.