The Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, has revoked the bail granted the former Governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, for flouting the court's order.
On Monday, Justice Mohammed Idris, the presiding judge, retracted the bail conditions granted to Kalu in 2007 when he was first arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako in Abuja.
In the ruling, the judge stated: "I have perused the proceedings from court records and I discovered that one of the conditions for granting bail to the 1st defendant, who happens to be Orji Uzor Kalu, is that he should deposit his international passport with the court and the permission must be granted before he can travel outside the country for whatever reason.
“It is clear that the 1st defendant has flouted this order. No one, high or low, rich or poor can disobey a valid order of court and expect such court to show mercy.
“Consequently, the bail granted to the 1st defendant is hereby revoked. It's hereby ordered that the first defendant upon his returning to Nigeria must submit himself to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with all his travelling documents. EFCC should effect his arrest if he fails to submit himself."
The judge, however, accommodated the doctor’s report that claimed the embattled former governor should be admitted on bed rest for ten to twelve months.
“In line with the neurosurgeon's advice from Germany which stated that the 1st defendant should be on hospital bed rest between ten to twelve months, this case is adjourned to January 23rd, 2019 for trial day to day,” the judge ruled.
In September 2018, EFCC had urged the court to revoke the bail granted to the embattled governor.
EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the former governor travelled out of the country without seeking permission from the court.
However, in explaining the reason behind the unavailability of Kalu in court, his lawyer, Gordy Uche, told the court that he (Kalu) had travelled out of the country for a surgical operation in Germany.
He said: “My lord, at the last hearing of this matter on July 31, 2018, we did inform the court that the first defendant (Dr. Kalu) had an appointment for a surgical operation which was scheduled for the 2nd of August, 2018, in Germany.
“Incidentally, the first defendant was unable to get a flight out to meet up with the appointment. The Consultant Surgeon, Dr. Mario, thereafter, went for his summer vacation. However, from the communications we have, the only available date for the surgery is today (Monday). We have already made out a letter attached to which are the correspondences fixing the appointment since last week Friday.
“It is very unfortunate that we found ourselves in this circumstance and we shall be applying for an adjournment for the first time in this case. This is the first time the first defendant will be absent in court. We plead for a short adjournment to enable him recover and stand his trial.”
EFCC’s counsel opposed the plea, stating that the time given to Kalu by the court to travel for medical treatment had elapsed and he cannot by himself extended it.
Although the judge declined EFCC’s application to have Kalu’s bail revoked in September, the continuous absence of the former governor necessitated the eventual order of the court.