NNAMDI Kanu sureties have been handed an ultimatum to produce the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader or go to prison.
This was the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja which asked the prosecution to issue an enrolled order for the appearance before it of three sureties in the trial Kanu.
Mr. Kanu, who is facing trial for alleged treason has not been seen since September 2017 when soldiers allegedly raided his home in Abia State.
Justice Binta Nyako asked the sureties to either explain why their N100 million bond should not be forfeited, produce the defendant or be remanded in prison.
Although the court repeatedly made the order, the prosecution was yet to serve the defence counsel with the court summons on the matter.
Mrs. Nyako adjourned the case for the sureties to respond to the demand by the court on June 26.
At the resumption of the matter, however, a counsel for the sureties, Chukwuma Umeh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said his client had not been served with court papers relating to the order made by the judge.
He therefore made a fresh application for an order of court demanding that the prosecution serves the sureties with copies of the order, as made by the court.
Mr. Umeh argued that responding to the verbal order could render the entire process legally defective.
The other lawyers in the defence team aligned themselves with Mr. Umeh’s application.
In his response, the prosecution counsel, Shaibu Labaran, urged the court to resist sacrificing the demand for justice on the altar of technicalities.
Mr. Labaran disagreed with the submission of the defence that an enrolled order was necessary to ensure compliance to the instructions made in court.
He described the fresh application as a “conspiracy” to set back the matter before the court and demanded its dismissal.
In a reaction to comments made by the prosecution, Mr. Umeh demanded the withdrawal of the word: “conspiracy,” used by Mr Labaran and urged the court to uphold his application.
The judge granted the request by the defense, but noted that the application was an evidence of their lack of readiness to proceed with the matter.
“What is clear is that you are not ready,” said Mrs Nyako.
“The sureties are to be served with the order of this court: to show cause why they should not forfeit their bond or to produce the defendant in the next adjourned date, with the alternative to go to prison,” she added.
Mr. Kanu’s sureties are a senator, Eyinnaya Abaribe, a Jewish priest, Immanuu-El Shalom, and an accountant resident in Abuja, Tochukwu Uchendu.