Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, has adjourned the trial of Alex Badeh, former chief of defence staff, to March 16, following his application for adjournment.
Abang held that the defendant had all the facility to prepare his defence, but he observed that it was served proof of additional evidence late.
Stating that “justice delayed is justice denied” just as “justice rushed is justice crushed”, he adjourned the trial to Wednesday, giving the defendant’s lawyer two extra days to prepare.
Akin Olujimi (SAN), counsel to Alex Badeh, had asked the court for an adjournment of the trial because he was new to the case.
Samuel Zibiri (SAN) had appeared as Badeh’s lead counsel at the hearing of his bail application, but Olujimi stepped in as his lead counsel on Monday.
Olujimi asked the court to give him time to study the brief of his client.
But Rotimi Jacobs, counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); told the court that Badeh was trying to scuttle the trial.
“The defendant cannot bring another senior advocate with a view to scuttling the trial,” he said.
He reminded the court that it had ordered a day-to-day hearing of the case.
“I therefore urged the court to refuse the application for adjournment,” he said.
Earlier, Abang had stood down the trial owing to the absence of Badeh after Jacobs told the court that the defendant was absent, hence a need to suspend the trial for a while.
“My lord this matter is for trial this morning,” he said. “The prison people are yet to arrive with the defendant. I humbly ask that the court stand down the case until they produce the first defendant.”
Since Olujimi did not object to the prayer, the court stood down the case until Badeh later.
The former chief of defence staff has been in prison since March 7. But Abang granted him bail on March 10 in the sum of N2bn.
He is accused of criminal breach of trust and corruption to the tune of N3.9bn.