The trial of the former Governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, has been stalled for the third time in eight months by the Federal High Court, Abuja, over the inability of the judge, Okon Abang, to hear the case.
Justice Okon Abang had adjourned the matter on the last adjourned date at the instance of the court for two months.
The defence and the prosecution counsel were ready to entertain the matter for the continuation of trial but Justice Abang had held that it was not convenient for the court to hear the matter.
“Incidentally, it is not convenient for the court to take arguments from learned senior counsel representing the defendants on their reply on points of law today, the Judge had said.”
“In the light of this, the matter is hereby adjourned to 26th of February, 2021, for learned senior counsel representing the defendants to present their reply on points of law in support of their no-case submission,” had ruled.
But at the adjourned date Justice Okon Abang was again absent from court on the grounds that he had a very important meeting to attend.
Now, both the prosecution and the defence lawyers worry that the matter has lingered for over six years, giving the public cause for concerns.
The absence of the judge on Oct. 7, 2020, frustrated the matter to this day an observer claimed.
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting the former governor, alongside his son, Abdul-Aziz Nyako; two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd.
They are the first, second, sixth and seventh defendants respectively in the trial.
Other defendants are Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd as third, fourth, fifth, eighth and ninth defendants respectively.
Nyako and others had, on March 11, 2020, prayed the court to dismiss the alleged N29 million money laundering charge filed against them.
In a no-case submission motion filed by his team of lawyers led by Kanu Agabi, on behalf of 1st, 2nd, 6th and 7th defendants, Nyako had told Justice Abang that “no case has been made out by the prosecution warranting an answer from them.”
The counsels argued that from the testimonies of the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution, there was not a single shred of evidence that suggested even remotely that a case had been made out against the accused.
Although the EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering, all the accused persons had pleaded not guilty to the charges.