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Admit you’ve been dismissed as judge and face your trial, Justice Aikawa tells Ofili-Ajumogobia

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Justice Mohammed Rilwan Aikawa on Friday told a former judge of an Abuja Federal High Court, Mrs. Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, who is facing trial, to admit that she has been dismissed as a judicial officer.

Ofili-Ajumogobia was charged before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering.

Ofili-Ajumogobia had claimed that her status as a judge should shield her from being prosecuted but Justice Rilwan maintained that she (Ofili-Ajumogobia) had been dismissed by President Muhammadu Buhari since November 7, 2018.

The judge read out the President’s memo of November 7, 2018, approving Ofili-Ajumogobia’s dismissal from the Bench as recommended by the National Judicial Council (NJC).

He said, “The president has approved the recommendation of NJC and has therefore approved the dismissal of the 1st defendant/applicant.

“In my view, the first defendant (Ofili-Ajumogobia) has been dismissed as a judicial officer.

“In the light of this, she can stand trial as she is no longer a judicial officer.

“The application lacks merit and is accordingly dismissed” the judge held.

Earlier in the ruling, the judge disagreed with the argument of the first defendant’s counsel that the exhibit marked ‘Restricted’ is a private document.

Read also: We are still investigating Fayose for other suspected crimes, EFCC tells court

He held that the document exhibit EFCC 02, though marked ‘Restricted’ but bearing the coat of arm of Federal Republic of Nigeria qualified it as a public document.

“An official letter from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Chief Justice of Nigeria is a public document,” Justice Aikawa said.

Similarly, the application filed by the second defendant Godwin Obla (SAN) to quash counts one, two and three for abuse of court process or in the alternative separate his trial from the charge against the Ofili-Ajumogobia and be tried separately was also dismissed by the court.

Babatunde Alao …

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