The forgery trial of Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu has been postponed following the request of Aliyu Umar, prosecuting counsel, asking for adjournment because he is unprepared to prosecute the case.
Saraki and Ekweremadu had filed applications before the court for the case to be dismissed, requesting the court to decline jurisdiction in the matter.
One of the other two defendants in the case, Salisu Maikasuwa, a former clerk of the national assembly and had filed similar applications.
The federal government’s counsel said he had “internal problems” and therefore could not respond to the applications of the defendants in the case.
“Just now, I became aware of a motion by the first defendant and served on us on September 26. The motion is fundamental because it is asking your lordship to decline jurisdiction and quash the charges. It is a short notice,” Umar said.
“Under the circumstances, I have not filed anything. It is fundamental to fair hearing. Under the circumstances, I will ask for an adjournment to enable me to respond to the motion.”
The matter is being heard at the federal capital territory high court before Justice Yusuf Haliru who asked Umar if he had responded to other motions filed by the defendants, the prosecuting counsel said: “I have not, there are some internal problems that I need to sort.
“Honestly, I’m not ready for this motion. If it is only just two days, grant us the adjournment to respond to the motion.”
But Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, counsel to Maikasuwa, said that there was no need to adjourn the case because Wednesday was scheduled for trial.
Mahmud Magaji, counsel to Benedict Efeturi, former deputy clerk of the national assembly, the second defendant, objected to the application for adjournment.
“The act of prosecution is serious business, especially a criminal charge. The office of the attorney-general, which is the chief prosecuting counsel, was served months ago. They had all the opportunities to respond to our applications,” he said.
“I urge your lordship not to allow us to descend to the internal working of the prosecution. In view of this, I’m objecting to the application for adjournment.”
On his on part, Paul Erokoro, counsel to Saraki, the third defendant, said that the application had no merit.
“On behalf of the third defendant I submit that the application has no merit. If the attorney-general has not deemed it fit to pass the entire case file to the counsel, then we should be allowed to move our motion. We are ready to proceed,” he said.
Joseph Daodu, counsel to Ekweremadu, the fourth defendant, also opposed the application.
“On our part we are ready to go,” he said “We oppose the application for adjournment.”
After listening to the parties, the judge adjourned the case to October 7 to hearing of the motions and trial.
Additional reports by TheCable