Boko-Haram: Absence of witnesses stalls Ndume’s trial

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In Nigeria News Feed
Feb 13th, 2014
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The scheduled resumption of the trial of an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, was stalled on Thursday over the prosecution’s failure to present its witnesses.

The prosecution was expected to call its witnesses in continuation of trial after the Court of Appeal had given its judgment in two interlocutory appeals filed by the accused, challenging the admission of some electronic evidence tendered by the prosecution led by O. T. Olatigbe of the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Although defence lawyer, Rickey Tarfa (SAN) tendered the appellate court’s composite judgment on his client’s on Thursday Justice Gabriel Kolawole, who said he was seeing the judgment for the first time, elected to proceed with trial.

He noted that since the judgments only touched on admissibility of some exhibits earlier admitted in the trial, the defence could not, at the final address stage, ask that such evidence be expunged from the court’s records.

He elected to proceed with trial and asked the prosecution team to present its witnesses.

After some delays, the prosecution called its third witness, Aliyu Baka (a security personnel), whose presence in the dock lasted few minutes. He was only invited to confirm the statement he obtained from the accused person.

When Baka stepped off the witness stand, the prosecution was expected to call more witnesses, but to everyone’s dismay, the prosecution said the other three witnesses it invited were not available.

Olatigbe prayed the court to adjourn the case to a further date, and the judge promptly picked March 31 for hearing.

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