The order of a Federal High Court, Abujha, on Monday that Senator Ali Ndume be remanded at the Kuje Correctional Centre for failing to produce the former Chairman of the defunct Pension Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, is generating suspicion of the federal government targeting to incarcerate Senator Eyinnaya Abaribe over the case of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB). There are rising fears that Senator Abaribe is the main target of the federal government while the order for the remand of Senator Ndume is being used as a reference point to defend to perceived plot to incarcerate Senator Abaribe, thereafter. Some stakeholders in the polity have noted that both Senator Ali Ndume and Senator Abaribe have been bold in criticizing the All Progressives Congress (APC) government headed by President Muhammadu Buhari over the years.
It will be recalled that Ndume, representing Borno south in the Senate of the National Assembly, signed surety for Maina’s bail, who is standing trial on allegation of N2 billion money laundering charges of Pension Funds.
Unfortunately, Maina jumped bail and has repeatedly failed to appear in court for the continuation of his trial.
The presiding Judge, Justice Okon Abang, issuing a bench, ordered the remand of Senator Ndume until the fulfillment of his bail bond, which is a forfeiture of N500 million to the federal government.
The court also authorized the federal government to sell Senator Ndume’s property at Asokoro in order to recover the N500 million bond.
Justice Abang assured that Ndume will be released from Kuje once he fulfils the payment of the N500 million or if the prosecutor is able to dispose of the property and payment made to the federal government.
Ndume’s lawyer, Marcel Oru, declared that he would appeal the judgment. Maina’s trial-in-absentia was, however, adjourned to November 24.
Senator Abaribe is one of the sureties for Nnamdi Kanu when the IPOB leader was granted bail in April 2017.
Kanu counsel, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, accused the Nigerian army of kidnapping the IPOB leader during the invasion of his residence. But the Army denied the accusation, saying it is completely false.
The presiding judge, Justice Binta Nyako, ordered all sureties to Nnamdi Kanu, including Abaribe, to produce Kanu or go to jail.
Senator Abaribe was, accordingly, arrested on June 22, 2018 by security operatives, detained and not charged to court. He was, however, released after a series of legal tussles.
Since Kanu is still at large, there is suspicion that the federal government may resume the trial so as to drag Senator Abaribe out again for imprisonment like Senator Ndume.
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