Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe who stood surety for the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, has filed an application asking Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja to inspect Kanu residence in Isiama Afaraukwu Abia State where military attacks lead to his disappearance.
Abaribe’s motion on notice was filed by his lawyer, Chukwuma- Machukwu Ume (SAN) and it was brought pursuant to Section 6 (6) a) (b); 36 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, and Sections 177 (1) & 179 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
Specifically, the motion is seeking an order granting leave of court to visit and make physical inspection of the incidences of the invasion and occupation of Nnamdi Kanu’s residence (at Isiama, Afaraukwu Ibeku Umuahia Abia state) from September 11 and 14 2017, and the eventual arrest and taking away of Kanu by the Nigerian Army.
Abaribe predicated the motion on the grounds that Kanu was at his residence before and all through 11th to 14th September 2017 at Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku.
He said, “Applicant’s agent has been severally prevented by agents of the Nigerian Army (6th respondent) as well as
other security agents from accessing the residence of Kanu at (Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku ) as to show the court the characters of the invasion and occupation of Kanu and the eventual arrest and taking away of Kanu by the staff and agents of the Army.
“The applicant is desirous of the court seeing and examining Kanu’s residence which has been stated as an evidence before the court.
According to Abaribe, “The application will help the court and indeed the applicant in the determination of his application before this court.
“The applicant’s application cannot be determined nor resolved by mere documents as described on the exhibits before the court but physical inspection of the said property.
An affidavit in support of the motion, deposed to by Deborah Warrie, stated thus : “That out of patriotic consideration of assisting the judicial process to defuse the high tension already generated in the polity and with
full convictions that Kanu was carrying on his activities within the limits and confines of the Constitution, that Abaribe (applicant) offered to stand surety for Kanu and entered into a recognisance and executed the bail bond.
The affidavit averred that since the release of Kanu from prison custody, he was last seen and known to be in his residence at Isiama Afaraukwu Ibeku, Umuahia, Abia state.
It was stated “That sometimes in 2017 or thereabouts, the Nigerian Army High Command on the instructions of the Chief of Army Staff announced publicly that they were going to commence a military operation exercise code named a operation a python dance in the whole of South East from September 15 to October 14.
“That although the invasion took place three months ago, there are still many physical reminders of the invasion and a site visit is the best and most expedient way to convey to this court the necessary information regarding “the environs, spatial configurations, and physical character of the locations of the invaded property, which information cannot be adequately conveyed through the presentation of oral testimony or topographical maps” alone.
The deponent said that the forceful military invasion of Kanu’s residence resulted in frustrating the bail bond of Abaribe.
She added that a visit to the scene of the event will enable the court to get evidence surrounding the facts of the suit.
Meanwhile, the application was not moved yesterday because Justice Nyako did not sit, and the matter was adjourned to February 20, 2018.
Aside the motion, Abaribe had earlier filed another application, praying for an order compelling the Chief of Army Staff to offset all expenses he incurred in the cause of trial of Kanu.
Also, Abaribe is demanding for an order for payment of N10million damages to him for the psychological trauma he has gone through following the extra-judicial self-help actions of the Army Chief of Staff.
Abaribe is standing as surety for Kanu, having signed a bail bond of N100million to secure bail for Kanu, who is being prosecuted by the Federal Government.
On October 17, Justice Binta had ordered that Abaribe and the other sureties should appear on November 20, to show cause why a bench warrant of arrest should not be granted against them.
The court also held that Abaribe could only be reclused if he produces Kanu or forfeits the N100m bail bond.
Andrew Orolua, Abuja