A Wuse Magistrates’ Court has fixed Jan. 8, 2021, for hearing in a suit brought by the commissioner of police against former Zonal Manager, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Lugard Edegbe.
Magistrate Elizabeth Wonni of Court 18, adjourned the matter after Peter Amadi, police prosecutor, applied that a hearing notice be issued on the 2nd defendant in the case, Aisha Shettima.
Edegbe and Shettima are charged with conspiracy, trespass and forgery.
A businessman, Muhammad Bature had, on Feb. 5 while giving his evidence as the star witness, accused Edegbe, of appropriating his land located at Sabon Lugbe area of Abuja.
Edegbe, a 59-year-old man, was said to have sold the plot of land measuring 2.7 hectares belonging to Bature to Aisha.
At the resumed hearing, Amadi, from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Force Headquarters, told the court that he wished to withdraw the FIR for amendment.
The application by the prosecutor followed an observation by the judge that the FIR which was tendered before the court had Edegbe as defendant while Shettima was not listed as 2nd defendant but was only said to be at large.
Earlier, Amadi told the court that in spite of Shettima’s receipt of the initial hearing notice on Nov. 12, she did not appear in court on Nov. 13 and was not in court at the adjourned date.
He argued that though Shettima had been at large, when she was rearrested and brought to his office on Nov. 12, he intervened that she should not be detained in the spirit of the new policing and with the hope that she would honour the hearing notice the next day.
Amadi, who recalled that on Nov. 13, a lawyer, Ian Solomon, represented Aisha and apologised for her absent, said: “Today, no lawyer is representing her.”
However, Solomon stood up and said that he decided not to mention his appearance because Shettima had not been named as a defendant in the FIR.
He said he had advised the prosecution to amend the FIR to include Shettima as a defendant.
“She cannot be at large. This is a woman that works with the Presidency.
“She came to my office last time and I asked if her name had been included in the FIR. If I call her now, she will appear.
“I want to say that it is not that she is disrespecting the court.
“The prosecution is only giving out a misinformation. She will come if invited,” he said.
The judge, who said the police knew what to do if truly a suspect was at large, said if Shettima was a party in the matter, the police should produce her in court.
“The FiR before me says Shettima is at large. I have seen INTERPOL arresting people outside the country.
“So if Shettima, who is working with the Presidency is not coming, you know what to do. I don’t want this matter to be delayed,” Wonni said.
Amadi, who then applied to amend the FIR, said he did not intend to delay the trial as two of the prosecution witnesses were outside the court.
He also prayed the court to grant his application to serve Shettima hearing notice for her arraignment.
Elechi Nicolas, counsel to Edegbe, said having done the needful, the next step was for Amadi to serve Shettima the hearing notice.
The judge granted the two applications by Amadi and adjourned until Jan. 8, 2021 for mention and hearing of the matter.
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