The Federal Government may continue the trial of leader of the proscribed Indegeniuos People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, in absentia, Vanguard learnt on Monday.
Mr. Kanu was billed to appear before Justice Binta Nyako to be re-arraigned on an amended five count charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/383/2015, alongside three other pro-Biafra agitators- Chidiebere Onwudiwe, Benjamin Madubugwu, David Nwawuisi and Bright Chimezie.
However, Kanu’s whereabouts has remained unkown, a development that has placed his sureties, including a serving Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe and a Jewish High Chief Priest, Immanuu El-Shalom, at risk of losing the N100m they paid as deposit.
FG is prosecuting the defendants through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Charges against them bother mainly on criminal conspiracy and treasonable felony. A member of the prosecuting team who spoke to Vanguard on Monday said FG was determined to proceed with the matter even if the IPOB leader failed to present himself before the court.
He said such practice was allowed, once it was proved that the defendant deliberately made himself unavailable for trial. “It will not be the first time a defendant is tried in absentia. Take the case of a former Niger Delta militant, Mr. Tompolo for instance. When he refused to make himself available, FG proceeded to try him in absentia”, the lawyer who craved anonymity because he was not cleared to speak on matter added. He maintained that under extant laws in the country, a defendant so tried, could still be convicted and made to face whatever penalty that was imposed by the court.
Kanu who is the 1st defendant, is facing four out of the five count amended charge.