The Federal High Court sitting in Birnin-Kebbi has granted the immediate past governor of Kebbi State, Alhaji Usman Dakingari, more time to attend to his ill-health in the United Kingdom.
Yesterday, Counsel to the former governor, Eyitayo Fatogun, filed affidavit with medical documents before the court that his client, who was currently receiving medical treatment in United Kingdom for diabetics, could not appear before the court due to his swelling legs which worsened his health condition.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) lead prosecutor, Johnson Ojogbena, who had earlier urged the court to invoke section 394 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) based on the last ruling of the court on the matter, described the medical documents tendered before the court as “mere facts” which were prepared by a pharmacist and not a medical doctor.
He argued that the fourth defendant was trying to disobey the court for not appearing and asked the court to invoke section 934 as promised by the court in the last sitting that “ if the fourth defendant failed to appear in court today, the court will not wait for prosecutor before it invokes the section 934.”
The EFCC prosecutor, who told the court that the second and third defendants were being subjected to stress because of the attitude of fourth defendant, said issuing warrant arrest would amount to fairness to other defendants who have been coming to the court.
But, counsel to the former governor, Fatogun, asked the court to discountenance the prosecutor’s submission and argued that the medical document was duly presented by medical doctor and deposed by a lawyer in his office.
In his ruling,the presiding judge, Justice Simeon Amobeda, after hours listened to all parties’ counsels and ruled that based on fresh facts before the court, it could not invoke section 394 of ACJC which mandated the court to issue warrant arrest if a defendant fails to appear before the court despite being served.
He further said “it is only the living that can stand for trial“ adding that based on the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Section 36, the defendant should be allowed to take care of his health properly and face his trial. The judge, who also ordered the other defendants to deposit their international passports to the Register said they must all be brought to the Court on the next adjourned date.
He however adjourned the case till September 24,2018 for all the defendants to take their pleas.