The Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, ordered the defence counsel to produce Nnamdi Kanu in court on March 28, or for his sureties to explain his whereabouts.
Binta Nyako, a justice of the high court, gave the order while ruling on an application for adjournment made by Shuaibu Labaran, the prosecuting counsel.
Kanu, who is the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People Of Biafra, IPOB, is standing trial alongside three members of the group for alleged treasonable offences relating to the agitation of the group for separation of the South-east and South-south regions from Nigeria.
He was admitted to bail on April 25, 2017 Enyinnaya Abaribe, the chairman South-east senate caucus, Immanuu-El Shalom, a Jewish high Priest, Tochukwu Uchendu, a chartered accountant, signing his bail bond.
Kanu has, however, not appeared in court since his bail and Ifeanyi Ejiofor, his counsel, repeatedly told the court that he was in the custody of the Nigerian Army, an allegation the army has denied.
Justice Nyako had earlier granted an application seeking to separate Kanu’s charges from that of the other defendants, Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi.
She granted the application particularly since none of the defendants raised an objection to it.
Labaran told the court that since Kanu’s absence was frustrating proceedings in the matter, justice would be better served if the charges were separated so that the case of the three defendants could go on.
“In view of the court granting the application to sever the charge of the first defendant from the others, we shall be asking for a short adjournment to enable us tidy our processes and for the records of the court to be neater,” he said.
Pan Ejiofor, counsel to Benjamin Madubugwu, attempted to ask the court for bail to enable his client seek medical attention but the judge said she was not disposed to granting bail to any of the other defendants.
She, however, advised the counsel to liaise with the prison authorities, saying if they agreed to attach a warden to the defendant, she would make an order allowing him to go to any government hospital.
She also adjourned that of the other defendants until March 20.
Kanu and his co-defendants are standing trial on a five-count charge bordering on treason.
Some of the charges include treasonable felony, unlawful possession of firearms, unlawful assembly and other offences bordering on their agitation for the secession of the Republic of Biafra from Nigeria.