The Federal High Court has ordered Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), to respond to an application challenging the court's jurisdiction filed by Barrister Aloy Ejimakor on behalf of the second surety to Nnamdi Kanu, the missing leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
At the resumed hearing on the bail bond forfeiture order against Nnamdi Kanu's sureties in Abuja on Tuesday, Aloy Ejimakor, representing Emmanuel Shalom Ben Madu, the Jewish high priest who together with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Tochukwu Uchendu stood surety to Kanu, had argued that before the court can decide on sureties forfeiting their bail bonds, the sureties are "entitled, as a matter of law, to be put on notice or served with the evidence used in obtaining the order to show cause before they (the sureties) can be required to produce evidence to contradict it.
Ejimakor cited Section 179(1), Administration of Criminal Justice Act, which provides that:'"Where it is proved to the satisfaction of the court by which a recognizance has been taken or, when the recognizance bond is for appearance before a court and it is proved to the satisfaction of the court that a recognizance has been forfeited, the court shall record the grounds of proof and may call on any person bound by the bond to pay the penalty thereof or to show cause why it should not be paid.
Continuing on above premise, he argued "that given that the recognizance at issue here is for appearance of the defendant, it lies with the complainant (the Federal Republic of Nigeria) to have proven to the satisfaction of this court that the recognizance has been forfeited".
"Applicant is neither aware that complainant ever filed the said proof, nor aware that this honorable court recorded the grounds of said proof thereof," he added.
Abaribe's lawyer, Chukwuma Ume (SAN) had stood in court and aligned himself with Ejimakor's preliminary objection to jurisdiction.
After hearing the oral submissions of counsel, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako adjourned the case to November 14, 2018, and ordered the AGF to respond well ahead of time to allow all parties the opportunity to file any counter-reply.
When Nnamdi Kanu was granted bail in April 2017, one of the conditions was for him to produce three sureties, each of who would stake N100m.
His disappearance since September 2017 has seen the Federal Government institute proceedings for the three sureties to forfeit their N300m.