A judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Babatunde Quadri, on Friday dismissed an application by a former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido, requesting that his (the ex-governor’s) trial be returned to the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
Rejecting Lamido’s request in a ruling, Justice Quadri held that it would better serve the interest of justice and public peace not to return the case to Justice Ademola.
Justice Ademola, his wife, Olubowale, and Lamido’s lead counsel, Mr. Joe Agi(SAN), were jointly prosecuted before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory by the Federal Government but were exonerated of all the 18 counts preferred against them on April 5, 2017.
The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, had re-assigned the case to Justice Quadri when Justice Ademola was on suspension as a result of the joint trial.
But following the judgment exonerating Justice Ademola, the judge’s wife, and Agi, of the charges preferred against them, the lawyer had requested the Chief Judge to return the case to Justice Ademola.
Agi had anchored his request to the Chief Judge on the grounds that it would be agonising for his Lamido and the other defendants to be subjected to the trial afresh when the prosecution, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, had already called 18 witnesses before Justice Ademola’s court.
But the EFCC had opposed the request insisting that with the joint trial which Justice Ademola and Agi underwent, the judge would likely be biased if the case was returned to him (Justice Ademola).
However, the Chief Judge upon considering both Agi’s and EFCC’s counter-requests insisted that the case should remain in Justice Quadri’s court.
Despite the Chief Judge’s directive, Agi filed a motion on April 26, 2017, seeking Justice Quadri’s order directing the return of the case to Justice Ademola.