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Trial of Sen Oduah over alleged N5bn fraud stalled

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The arraignment of Senator Stella Oduah, a former Minister of Aviation, before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja has been stalled.

Oduah, who is representing Anambra North Senatorial District in the upper chamber, was to be arraigned on a 25-count charge, along with eight other defendants, all of who were present in court on Monday.

However, one of the defence lawyers and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Ogwu Onoja asked the court not to go on with taking the plea.

Onoja, on behalf of other defendants, told the court that there was a petition dated January 29, to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in respect of the charge, which stated that Oduah and the other defendants were being persecuted.

The senior lawyer noted that having submitted the petition to the AGF, he requested for the file but that till the time of the arraignment, the EFCC vehemently refused to remit the file to the AGF.

READ ALSO: Kogi govt slams EFCC’s claims of misappropriation of N20bn bailout fund

He questioned why the AGF would request for a file to review a criminal charge and the EFCC will refuse to hand it over.

Onoja argued that the plea could not be taken on account of the issue at hand.

Following the development, the court held that since a statutory and constitutional issue had been raised, it would not hear the case summarily.

The court subsequently ordered the parties to file written addresses on the issue and adjourned the case to February 10, 2022.

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