The trial of Nigeria’s senate president, Bukola Saraki, deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, and others for forgery was on Wednesday adjourned to October 7 following a request by the prosecuting counsel, Aliyu Umar, who said he is unprepared.
One of the defendants, Salisu Maikasuwa, former clerk of the national assembly, filed an application asking the court to quash the forgery charges and to decline jurisdiction in the trial. Saraki and Ekweremadu had also filed similar applications.
Umar however said, “Just now, I became aware of a motion by the first defendant (Maikasuwa) 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.”
“Under the circumstances, I have not filed anything. It is fundamental to fair hearing. I will ask for an adjournment to enable me respond to the motion.”
Asked by the trial judge, Yusuf Haliru, if he had responded to other motions filed by the defendants, Umar said he had 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,” he said.
His request for adjournment was opposed by counsels to all the defendants.
Mahmud Magaji, counsel to Benedict Efeturi, former deputy clerk of the national assembly, the second defendant, objected, saying “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. 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.”
It was also opposed by Paul Erokoro, counsel to Saraki, and Joseph Daodu, counsel to Ekweremadu.
However, after hearing all the submissions, the judge adjourned the case to October 7 to hearing of the motions and trial.