Enyinaya Abaribe, senate minority leader, says he didn’t feel betrayed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who jumped bail after he stood as his surety.
Kanu was granted bail in April 2017 after 18 months in detention but he fled Nigeria later that year after soldiers invaded his residence in Abia state during a military clampdown on IPOB members.
He was, however, re-arrested in June and extradited to Nigeria to face trial for treasonable felony.
The IPOB leader has since been remanded in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) pending the continuation of his trial.
Speaking on Kanu’s re-arrest when he featured on Journalist Hangout, a programme on Television Continental (TVC), on Wednesday, Abaribe explained that he stood as a surety for the IPOB leader because he is from the south-east and saw it as his responsibility.
The senator said the IPOB leader did not jump bail but fled for his life. “There is a difference between jumping bail and escaping for your life. I think we have to make that very clear,” Abaribe said.
“At that time, I went back to court and went to the judge. We made a deposition and said on the basis of the principle of ‘last seen’, that the last people seen with him were the soldiers of the Nigerian army who were invading his father’s residence and therefore, they have the responsibility of talking about what happened.
“The judge ultimately ruled that they are revoking bail and issued a warrant of arrest, thereby removing us from the responsibility of providing him.
“A lot of Nigerians didn’t know this when they were shouting that Abaribe should be brought to produce him.
“I didn’t feel betrayed. He escaped for his life. If he is running for his life, how would he communicate with me?
“I was surprised like everybody when he surfaced in Israel. I immediately wrote a letter to our foreign affairs ministry asking them to instruct our Nigerian ambassador in Israel to ascertain whether the person we saw in the photograph is actually this person but I never got a response.”
When asked if he would be willing to stand as surety for Kanu again, the minority leader replied: “If the circumstances are the same, then why not?
“The first circumstance was that the judge said they needed a senator to be part of his sureties. So if a judge says that again, I don’t see why I won’t. I am a senator and I come from the south-east. I don’t think we will run away from our responsibility. He’s our son. He’s from our state.”