The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday fined the Federal Government the sum of N200,000 for seeking and causing an adjournment of the trial of Omoyele Sowore.
The fine must be paid by the Federal Government between now and tomorrow, the new date for the continuation of the trial.
The presiding judge, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu described the prosecution’s request for the adjournment as frivolous and uncalled for.
She warned that the proceedings would not continue if the prosecution fails to present evidence of the payment of the N200,000 to the defence or come to court with the cash on Thursday.
The judge also expressed dissatisfaction with the prosecution’s failure to serve all necessary documents as ordered by the court over seven weeks ago.
The prosecuting counsel, Kayode Alilu, from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, had earlier explained to the court that the amendment of the charges followed the taking over of the case from the Department of State Service (DSS) in December.
Defence lawyer, Yinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) of Femi Falana chambers contended that the prosecution were not prepared for trial and urged the court to strike out the charges.
He said the prosecution’s request for an adjournment was frivolous and an indication of their lack of diligence in the prosecution of the case.
He added that the prosecution is only interested in the drama after arraigning the defendants since August 2019
He further said the prosecution is always interested in seeking adjournment in order to punish the defendants who are forced to stay in Abuja at the mercy of friends and well-wishers
Alilu in response to the defence lawyer asked the court to discountenance the application to strike out the suit and urged the court to grant an adjournment till Thursday to enable them effect service of the amended charges on the defendants.
Lawyer to the defendants counters his argument saying the prosecution is not in a position to continue the matter Thursday as they are yet to serve them the list and statements of their witnesses despite the order of the court to do so.
Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu in a short ruling views the application for adjournment as frivolous.
She ordered the prosecution to pay a sum of N200, 000 as the cost to the defendants for the frivolous application for adjournment.
She then adjourned the matter adjourned till February 13.