Connect with us


Court threatens to issue arrest warrant on ex-Minister, Stella Oduah



Nigerian govt takes over Senator Oduah’s businesses, properties

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, if she fails to appear in court for her trial on the next adjourned date.

The sitting Judge, Justice Inyang Ekwo gave the warning on Monday after Dr. Hassan Liman, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the alleged N5 billion fraud trial against Oduah and eight others told the court that the former minister and one other defendant were not in court to take their plea.

Ripples Nigeria reported that the court had earlier fixed February 9 for the arraignment of the former minister and eight other persons.

However, Oduah, who currently represents Anambra North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, was not served with the court processes as at then, hence the arraignment could not go on.

Subsequently, the court fixed April 19 for her arraignment which failed again, due to the strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

In a suit with the number: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/20, the EFCC charged Oduah alongside others with alleged misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N5 billion while serving as a minister.

When the matter was called, Liman, who informed that the case was scheduled for arraignment, said the anti-corruption agency had carried out the court order made on February 9.

“On Feb. 22, 2020, my lord made an order of substituted service on the 5th and 6th defendants in the trial. We have carried out the order my lord,” he said.

However, Justice Ekwo said since the court did not sit on the last adjourned date, today’s proceeding should be for a report on the development and another date would be fixed for arraignment.

READ ALSO: EFCC seizes Stella Oduah’s passport over alleged fraud

“How many witnesses are you calling,” the judge asked.

Liman, who said the EFCC would be calling at least 32 witnesses in the trial, said while some of the witnesses were within the court jurisdiction, others were not, noting that the agency would produce two witnesses in the first day of the trial commencement.

The lawyer called the court’s attention to the fact that Oduah, who is the 1st defendant, and another defendant listed as 4th in the trial were not in court.

The judge, who told the prosecution lawyer to put his house in order, said, “I will fix another date for arraignment and if they like, let them not come,” adding that “once the plea is taken, I am proceeding with the trial.”

Ekwo, therefore, warned that any defendant who is not in court on the next adjourned date would be issued with an arrest warrant.

“Apart from the 2nd and 3rd defendants, the order defendants are absent today. This is a note of warning that anyone absent will be issued with a warrant of arrest,” he ruled.

He adjourned the matter until October 19 for arraignment and trial.

Join the conversation


Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now