The Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, to pay a fine of aggregate sum of N200,000 to the four members of Indigenous People of Biafra, who are standing trial alongside their leader, Nnamdi Kanu.
The judge, Justice Binta Nyako directed the AGF to pay each of the defendants, N50,000 for failing to conduct diligent prosecution and for the inconveniences suffered as a result of absence of the lead counsel to the Federal Government, Shuaibu Labaran.
The judge expressed concern over the way the trial was truncated, insisting the N200,000 fine must be paid to the defendants before the next adjourned date of March 17.
The judge was about to adjourn the case when, one Mrs Adewumi Aluko from the Federal Ministry of Justice walked in and apologized that the the Federal Government’s lead counsel was out of the country.
Justice Nyako did not find the reason tenable as she counseled the Federal Government legal team to be more serious in the trial of the defendants.
The court also cautioned the defence lawyers to desist from using frivolous applications to delay the trial, which started since 2015.
The four defendants who are Bright Chimezie, Chidiebere Onwudike, Benjamin Maduagwu and David Nwaurusi, had through their lawyers complained bitterly that they had faced untold hardship in a bid to raise funds for their transportation to Abuja, to face trial.
By Victoria Abah