BREAKING: Court orders re-arrest of Nnamdi Kanu

A Nigerian court has ordered that the leader of outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, be re-arrested to enable him face his ongoing trial.

The order was given on Thursday by an Abuja Federal High Court presided over by Justice Binta Nyako after she revoked the bail earlier granted to the leader of Biafra agitators.

She explained that the court had to give the order because Kanu has after he was granted bail since April 2017, refused to appear in court to face his trial.

The judge, who anchored her decision on the provisions of Section 352(4) of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, meanwhile said that the IPOB leader’s trial will continue in his absence.

Kanu, whose IPOB group has since being branded a terrorist group by the Federal Government, is being prosecuted on charges bothering on treasonable felony.

After Nigerian soldiers invaded his home in September 2017, during the military’s ‘Operation Python Dance II’ staged to quell agitation for a Republic of Biafra, Kanu’s whereabouts was unknown until he appeared in Israel last year before he later traveled back to the United Kingdom, of which he is also a citizen, as he holds dual citizenship with UK and Nigeria.

The lead prosecuting counsel in his ongoing trial back in Nigeria, Mr. Magaji Labaran, had on Thursday applied orally during proceedings in trial for a court order for Kanu’s re-arrest for absconding from his trial.

But counsel to Kanu, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had opposed Labaran’s oral application, and requested that he should be given more time to explain why his client had not been in court by filing all necessary papers.

Ejiofor argued that Kanu’s disappearance was as a result of soldiers’ invasion of his Afara-Ukwu home in Abia State.

However, Justice Nyako noted that she had earlier in a judgment on a civil suit filed by Kanu, ruled that there was nothing linking the said military invasion and Kanu’s disappearance.

She therefore overruled Ejiofor’s objection and said his request for explanation of the defendant’s absence in court was belated.

Noting how Kanu violated the conditions and terms of the bail granted him, and how his lawyer, who claimed that the defendant’s absence from court was caused by the invasion of his home in Abia State by soldiers, added that the three persons who guaranteed his bail had applied to the court to withdraw their suretyship because they could not account for his whereabouts.

She since March 28, 2018, when Kanu’s trial was separated from that of his four other co-defendants that there were four court sessions that held and were adjourned without Kanu attending any.

“Proceedings must end one way or the other. 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,” the judge held.

She then fixed June 18 for trial to commence with or without Kanu’s presence in court.

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