The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday, ordered Mr. Abdullahi Mustapha (SAN), to produce the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, Kawu Modibbo, in court on the next adjourned date of April 17 to take his plea.
Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa gave the order, following the absence of Modibbo in court to answer to fraud charges levelled against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
When the matter was called, Mustapha told the court that Modibbo was not present in court based on health grounds.
“My lord, let me apologise for the absence of Modibbo in court. He is on admission. He had a major surgery 10 years ago, and is ill.
“I have a medical report from the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital to confirm that he is currently ill, and I shall be filing it before the court registry,” he said.
He prayed the court for an adjournment based on the health of his client and pending when he (Modibbo) will be well enough to stand trial.
The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Henry Emore did not oppose the oral application for an adjournment.
Emore, however, said it should be on record that they had taken one adjournment out of 5, as stipulated by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 in criminal cases.
Mr. Alex Izinyon, (SAN), who announced appearance for the 2nd and 3rd defendants also did not oppose the application for an adjournment.
Izinyon said his not opposing was based on the fact that only the living could praise God; and only the living could face trial.
He, however, drew the attention of the court to the fact that the statement of Emore on adjournment was not applicable to the other defendants and the court affirmed.
Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa said she would not bend over backwards again to grant an adjournment exceeding two weeks based on the provision of Section 396 of ACJA.
She also directed the prosecuting counsel to verify the authenticity of the medical report filed by Modibbo’s counsel and file a report on it to the court.
She adjourned the matter until April 17 for the defendants to take their plea, and May 2, 3, 8 and 9 for commencement of trial.
Modibbo, Lucky Omoluwa, founder of Pinnacle Communications Ltd (third defendant); Dipo Onifade (2nd defendant) and Pinnacle Communications Ltd (4th defendant) are facing trial over allegations of fraud in the digital switch over project of the Federal Government.
The News Agency of Nigeria, (NAN) reports that all the other defendants were present in court.