The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the Federal High Court judge handling the trumped-up treason trial of human rights activist, Omoyele Sowore, to proceed to Kainji, Niger State, where he is billed to engage in the trial of Boko Haram suspects.
Justice Emeka Nwite, the judge handling Sowore’s case, who had adjourned the sitting to Tuesday, December 5, sat on Monday and handled only three cases after which he announced that he would be away in Niger State.
“He abruptly announced to a bewildered courtroom that he will be gone for the rest of the week to attend to Boko Haram suspects in a special court session in Kainji, Niger State,” a source in the court said.
“The postponement of all trials for the week was announced without notifications sent to litigants but the Federal Ministry of Justice officials were aware because the sudden action was initiated by the Minister of Justice,” the top source added.
Justice Nwite had on November 15 threatened to strike out the case against Sowore at the next adjourned sitting, saying “Let me sound this as last warning, I am ready to adjourn this matter and if you people are not ready to go on with this matter at the next adjourned date I will strike out this matter.”
On Monday lawyers to Sowore confirmed that “the Nigerian government has failed to file any paperwork as of Monday evening to warrant any continuation of trial; hence the secret postponement of trial by taking the judge to Niger State.”
At the last sitting, the judge had slammed the counsel to the Nigerian government, Maryam Okorie who is representing the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the Minister of Justice for not showing seriousness in the trial of Sowore in the trumped-up treason charges filed against him.
Okorie had opposed the request by Sowore who is the 1st defendant to have the charges of 2nd defendant (Olawale Bakare) severed following the inability of the prosecution to serve the hearing notice on the 2nd defendant who is a secondary school dropout.
She had insisted that the 2nd defendant must be in court and must be re-arraigned and take his plea with Sowore despite the fact that he had not been served with the hearing notice.
The prosecution who had on several occasions applied for adjournments to enable them serve the 2nd defendant had refused to serve him but instead pushed the responsibility to the court.
Responding, Justice Nwite had said, “I am talking to you as prosecutor that you have to make move to see that the 2nd defendant is served and if you cannot serve him. The next option is to severe the charge of 2nd defendant. Will it stall the proceedings if you severe the charge? Court ordered that 2nd defendant be served. So what effort have you made?”
Okorie had replied, “I am not aware.”
The judge had then lambasted her, “That means you are not serious, if you are serious you will ask about the outcome of serving the 2nd defendant. The issue is that even if the case started “de novo’ this is almost two years since I take over the matter. If you people are serious you ought to have done the needful. I have told you this times with number. If you are unable to get in touch with 2nd defendant, the proper thing to do is to severe the 2nd defendant and go on with 1st defendant. Let me sound this as last warning, I am ready to adjourn this matter and if you people are not ready to go on with this matter at the next adjourned date I will strike out this matter.”
The judge had adjourned the matter to December 5, 2023.
Providing a comprehensive update, Sowore, who was also presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the last general elections, had said, “Today at the Federal high Court in Abuja in continuation of the farcical Treason Felony trial that has lasted for four years without progress.
“The Federal Government-Unable and Incapable of diligent prosecution of the case are with another ruse in continuing the case. The FGN brought a prosecutor that was pesky, rude, uncouth and unprofessional to court, she was largely uninterested, bereft of the particulars of the case and unnecessarily belligerent, at a point she told me to “shut up” and claimed she was “party” to my case.
“She didn’t even know the history of the case, I had to interject to let the Federal judge know that she lied when she boldly claimed that the reason my case was transferred to the current Judge, Emeka Nwite was because a Justice Anwalu Chikere was handling the case before and that the case was started “de novo” because she “retired.”
“This was a lie because I was never charged before Justice Chikere until her retirement. The prosecutor, Maryam Okorie had no clue! The judge appears to have seen through the ruse and thus threatened to strike out the case on the next court date, December 5th 2023, if the FGN didn’t get their act(s) together. #RevolutionNow.”