Senator representing Abia South, Eyinnaya Abaribe, has initiated a contempt charge against the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Burata, accusing him (Buratai) of frustrating his (Abaribe) role as a surety for the bail granted the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
In the fresh motion, the Senator is seeking an order directing the Chief of Army Staff to explain to the court why the Attorney-General of the Federation should not “be compelled to initiate contempt charges/proceedings against him for his extra-judicial self-help conducts”.
Abaribe stated this in a fresh motion he filed before the court where he and Kanu’s two other sureties had been ordered to explain the IPOB leader’s whereabouts.
The senator had earlier filed a motion seeking to be discharged as Kanu’s surety, but the trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, directed during the previous proceedings of October 17, 2017, that the senator could not withdraw his surety-ship until Kanu was produced before the court.
Kanu, who is being prosecuted alongside others on charges bordering on treasonable felony, was on Monday absent from court for the second time after the alleged invasion of his home in Abia State by soldiers on September 14, since when he had been declared missing by his family.
But Abaribe was physically present in court on Monday.
He stated in his fresh motion filed through his lawyer, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume (SAN), on November 17, 2017, that he should not be held responsible for unavailability of Kanu to attend court for his trial, but alleged that Kanu’s unknown whereabouts was caused by the “whimsical, capricious, subversive and extra-judicial self-help” embarked upon by the Chief of Army Staff.
The senator maintained that the Chief of Army Staff was aware of the pending charges against Kanu when he allegedly deployed soldiers to “forcefully and violently” invade the IPOB leader’s home in Afaraukwu Ibeku-Umuahia, in Abia State on September 14, 2017.
He noted that the conducts of the COAS with deployment of the soldiers were with “most probable effect” of preventing him (Kanu) from attending court to to continue his trial.
He said he opted to be Kanu’s surety out of “patriotic consideration of assisting the judicial process to defuse the tension already generated in the polity”.
His lawyer, Ume, argued in the motion that the Chief of Army Staff’s “extra-judicial self-help conduct obviously frustrated the proceedings and course of administration of justice (in the bail and bail bond granted and executed in Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015).”
The lawyer maintained that the “actions have brought the honourable court to some ridicule and its power appear nugatory as well as placing in a fixed up position.”
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