Aliyu Umar, prosecuting counsel in the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki, and Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, for forgery, has asked for an adjournment of the case because he is unprepared.
Salisu Maikasuwa, former clerk of the national assembly and the first defendant in the case, had filed an application asking the court to quash the charges of forgery brought against him by the federal government.
He also asked the court to decline jurisdiction in the trial.
Saraki and Ekweremadu had also filed similar applications.
But Umar, counsel to the federal government, said he had internal problems, hence his failure to respond to the applications.
“Just now, I became aware of a motion by the first defendant and served on us on September 26. The motion is fundamental because it is asking your lordship to decline jurisdiction and quash the charges. It is a short notice,” he said.
“Under the circumstances, I have not filed anything. It is fundamental to fair hearing. Under the circumstances, I will ask for an adjournment to enable me to respond to the motion.”
When Yusuf Haliru, justice of the federal capital territory (FCT) high court, where the matter is being heard, asked him if he had responded to other motions filed by the defendants, the prosecuting counsel said: “I have not, there are some internal problems that I need to sort.
“Honestly, I’m not ready for this motion. If it is only just two days, grant us the adjournment to respond to the motion.”
But Ikechukwu Ezechukwu, counsel to Maikasuwa, said that there was no need to adjourn the case because Wednesday was scheduled for trial.
Mahmud Magaji, counsel to Benedict Efeturi, former deputy clerk of the national assembly, the second defendant, objected to the application for adjournment.
“The act of prosecution is serious business, especially a criminal charge. The office of the attorney-general, which is the chief prosecuting counsel, was served months ago. They had all the opportunities to respond to our applications,” he said.
“I urge your lordship not to allow us to descend to the internal working of the prosecution. In view of this, I’m objecting to the application for adjournment.”
On his on part, Paul Erokoro, counsel to Saraki, the third defendant, said that the application had no merit.
“On behalf of the third defendant I submit that the application has no merit. If the attorney-general has not deemed it fit to pass the entire case file to the counsel, then we should be allowed to move our motion. We are ready to proceed,” he said.
Joseph Daodu, counsel to Ekweremadu, the fourth defendant, also opposed the application.
“On our part we are ready to go,” he said “We oppose the application for adjournment.”
After listening to the parties, the judge adjourned the case to October 7 to hearing of the motions and trial.