The Federal High Court in Abuja has suspended the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Adaeze Oduah in the alleged N7.9 billion fraud charges brought against her by the Federal Government.
The planned arraignment of Mrs Oduah for today, June 15, was put off by Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo over alleged threat to his life by yet to be identified persons.
At Thursday’s proceedings, Justice Ekwo brought out a publication by a corporate organization in which his life was severely threatened over the planned trial.
Justice Ekwo, who was visibly angry over the developments, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, prosecuting the former Minister to fish out those behind the corporate body and bring them before the court.
The Judge also ordered the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court in charge of litigation to liaise with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to obtain the identities of the promoters of the offending organization for the purpose of arresting them.
Justice Ekwo said that sanctity of the Court must be maintained, adding that Nigeria is not a banana republic or animal kingdom where acts of lawlessness can be condoned.
Counsel to EFCC, Mr Ofem Uket in reaction expressed sadness over the development and vowed that the anti-graft agency would do the needful to bring the culprits to book.
He, however, prayed the court not to allow unknown persons acting as external third party to scuttle the trial.
Based on the promise of the EFCC to fish out those threatening his life, Justice Ekwo fixed July 17 for report of the CAC on the owners of the organization and EFCC’S bid to fish out the culprits.
The EFCC is alleging that Mrs Oduah misappropriated the sum of N7.9B public funds while serving as a Minister under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore, and Marine Limited, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited, and a foreign construction company.
They are charged with conspiracy and money laundering, as well as maintaining anonymous bank accounts.