Court orders closure of police case in suit against APGA National Chairman

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory sitting in Bwari has abruptly closed a case filed by the Nigerian Police against the National Chairman, All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Edozie Njoku, and another over alleged conspiracy to alter a judgment of the Supreme Court delivered by Justice Mary Peter Odili (rtd).
Justice Mohammed Madugu, who gave the order due to failure of police prosector, Rinasomte Ezekiel, to produce other witnesses in court, directed Njoku and Chukwuemeka Nwoga, the defendants in the charge, to open their case.
Justice Madugu observed that the defendants were charged to court on Nov. 22, 2022 by the police.
He said Ezekiel had made the court to see the urgency of the matter, and assured that he would close his case within two weeks.
The judge, however, expressed dismay that since Nov. 22, 2022, the police lawyer had only called two witnesses, with several adjournments.
On July 4, Justice Madugu had threatened to close the case of the prosecution if he failed to produce his remaining witnesses in court on the next adjourned date.
At a resumed trial, the judge, based on the oral application by the police lawyer for a 5-minute stand down, magnanimously stood the matter down for an hour to enable the prosecution counsel to call his witnesses.
However, upon resumption of sitting, Ezekiel informed the judge that his remaining witnesses said they would not appear before the court.
He said the witnesses asked him to inform the court of their pending application before the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court for the matter to be transferred to another court.
When asked by the judge about his opinion on the development, Ezekiel said “everybody has freedom of expression” and that he aligned himself with the application of the witnesses.
Ezekiel sought an adjournment pending the time the CJ would take action on their application.
Reacting, the defence counsel, Panam Ntui, opposed the application for an adjournment.
He said the court had indulged the prosecution for so long a time, stressing that “even some of their excuses are untenable and lack any iota of probative value.
“This latest antic is aimed at delaying proceedings, and shouldn’t be allowed.
“It is on record that from November 2022, when the defendants were arraigned, the prosecution said in two weeks, he would be closing his case.”
Ntui argued that criminal case is of public interest and not for self aggrandizement of the prosecution counsel.
“The prosecution counsel had at four different occasions pleaded for an adjournment including this stand down today.
“Even when the prosecution asked for five minutes, the court granted over an hour stand down for the prosecution to call his remaining witnesses.
“This court still has an inherent jurisdiction to go on with this matter except at a time, transfer to another court is endorsed by the CJ,” he said.
The lawyer urged the court to close the case of the prosecution, having failed to call his witnesses.
“We are ready to open our defence,” he prayed the court.
Justice Madugu, who ordered that the police case be closed for lack of diligent prosecution, directed the defence to open their case.
Meanwhile, Ntui called Njoku, as his first defence witness to give evidence-in-chief.

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