Law News
Nyanya: AGF office stalls Ogwuche’s trial

The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, on Wednesday stalled the trial of the alleged mastermind of the April 14, 2014, bombing in Nyanya, a suburb of Abuja, Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche and five others.

The trial, which was scheduled to commence on Wednesday before a Federal High Court in Abuja, could not proceed because of a fresh application belatedly served by the prosecution on the defence lawyers.

Ogwuche, Ahmed Abubakar, Mohammed Ishaq, Ya’u Saidu (alias Kofar Rama); Anas Isa, Adamu Yusuf and Nasir Abubakar are facing terrorism charges for the bombing which killed about 75 persons.

All defence lawyers, particularly Ahmed Raji (SAN) and Abdul Mohammed, expressed dissatisfaction with the late service of the application on them.

The application, through which the prosecution seeks an order permitting it to shield the identity of its witnesses during their court appearances, was filed on April 9, 2015 but was only served on the defence lawyers several days after.

The five defence lawyers in the matter described the late service of the application on them as a deliberate attempt to frustrate the trial.

Only Raji was served with the application on the previous day before the date scheduled for hearing, other defence lawyers said they were served in court just before the proceedings commenced.

The defence lawyers urged the presiding judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, to disregard the application and order the prosecution to call its witness.

They complained that the conduct of the prosecution ran contrary to the spirit of the order of accelerated hearing of the case granted by the judge.

They said their clients had been in custody for close to one year and that they deliberately did not apply for bail in order not to delay the case any further.

One of the defence lawyers, Mohammed, argued that the prosecution’s application was not ripe for hearing as it contravened the provisions of Paragraph 3(d) of the Practice Direction of the Federal High Court which according to him says, “no party shall serve an application another party on the day scheduled for hearing.”

But the judge eventually adjourned the sitting upon apology by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. M. Ogunsina.

The matter was adjourned till May 11.

In its fresh application, the prosecution seeks a modification to the order of the court made on March 18, 2015, which granted partial secret trial of the suspects.

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