The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday adjourned the trial of the former Director- General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission(NBC), Emeka Mba, till April 4 for continuation of hearing.
Justice Kolawale adjourned the matter at the instance of Mr Ikoro Ikoro, counsel to Babatunji Amure, the fourth defendant, who informed the court that he was not ready for the trial.
Emeka-Mba Kolawale said that the adjournment was to enable counsel prepare to continue with the substantive trial since the trial within-trial would no longer go on. Mr I.F. Chude, counsel to Patrick Areh, the second defendant, had told the court of his intention to discontinue the trial-within-trial, that the court had ordered at the last adjourned date.
Ikoro said that since the court had adjourned for trial-within-trial, he did not come to court with materials to use to cross examine the witness in the trial.
Mba is facing trial on an amended 15-count charge, bordering on N2.9 billion fraud. He is facing trial alongside the Director of Finance and Accounts, Patrick Areh, Basil Udotai and Babatunji Amure.
At the beginning of hearing, Chude, counsel to Areh, informed the court of his intention to withdraw from the trial- within-trial to ascertain the confessional statement of Areh.
“The matter was adjourned for trial- within-trial to ascertain the alleged confessional statement of the 2nd defendant. “I wish to inform the court of my intention to withdraw from the objection to the admissibility of the statement,’’ he said.
In his ruling, the judge admitted the defendant’s statement dated Jan. 11, 2016 in evidence, as exhibit 2. Counsel to Udotai and Babatunji, made an oral application, informing the court that their clients are suffering from back pain and they need the court to make an order for them to be transferred to another hospital for treatment.
The judge ordered that the prison doctor shall within five days take the defendants to National Hospital Abuja for treatment. He said copy of the order shall be presented to the counsel of the defendants and the prison doctor.
He added that the defendants who are still in Kuje Prison shall be returned to the custody after their treatment. The matter was adjourned till April 4 for continuation of trial.