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December 8, 2023

Absence of judge stalls Oyo-Ita’s trial

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By Taiye Agbaje
The absence of Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, again stalled the trial continuation of former Head of Service (HoS) of the Federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, on allegations bordering on fraud.
Although counsel to the parties in the matter, including the defendants, were in court, Justice Taiwo was not in court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the case could not also hold on Oct. 20, 2020, because the judge, who sat during the annual vacation of the Federal High Court, proceeded on leave.
 The matter was, however, fixed for Dec. 1.
When the matter came up on Dec. 1, 2020, counsel to the former HoS, Paul Erokoro, and other defendants’ lawyers, urged the court to adjourned the trial sine die over alleged abuse of court process by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge then adjourned the ruling on the application by the defendants’ counsel until Dec. 3, 2020 but the matter could not hold, and was later fixed for Jan. 13.
However the matter did not come up as scheduled and the lawyers involved in the case took another date after the court registrar informed them that the court would not be sitting.
The case was then fixed for Jan. 28.
NAN reports that Oyo-Ita was arraigned before Justice Taiwo, on March 20, 2020, by the EFCC on an 18-count charge bordering on fraud to the tune of about N471, 633, 291.
Her Special Assistant, Ubong Effiok, and a businessman, Garba Umar, are among the defendants.
Other defendants are Frontline Ace Global Services Limited, Asanaya Projects Ltd, Garba Umar Slopes International Ltd., Gooddeal Investments Ltd, U & U Global Services Ltd, which is linked to Effiok and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.
They all pleaded not guilty to the charges.(NAN)
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