FHC judges shun courts in solidarity with arrested colleagues

federal-high-courtJudges of the Federal High Court in Abuja Monday shunned court in solidarity with one of their colleagues, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) at the wee hours of last Saturday.

He was arrested by men of DSS over allegation of engagement in corrupt acts but in a manner that was roundly condemned.

The DSS had disclosed Saturday afternoon that it recovered bewildering amount of monies in different currencies in his residence.

He is allegedly being asked to explain how he came about the monies.

But DSS sources said that it has not been easy extracting confessional statement from the judge, himself being a judicial officer with knack for criminal jurisprudence.

Mr Justice Ademola was detained by the DSS until Sunday evening to extract information that would aid it to prosecute him.

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But his colleagues, on Monday, refused to sit.

Litigants, whose cases were scheduled for Monday, were disappointed when, on getting to court, they learnt that the judges would not sit.

Some of the public interest cases affected were those involving former Chief of General Staff, Alex Badeh, former Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim and the case filed against the House of Representatives by Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited (Shell).

Ohakim is being tried before Justice Ademola on a three-count charge of money laundering and false asset declaration.

He is accused of purchasing a property at 60, Kwame Nkrumah Street, Plot No 1098, Cadastral ZoneA04, Asokoro District, Abuja with cash payment of $2.29 which was said to be dollar equivalent of N270m in November 2008.

Ohakim was also accused of failing to declare the property as part of his assets when asked by the EFCC to do so.

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He was to open his defence Monday, but for absence of the trial judge.

No date is fixed yet for the case.

Badeh and a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited are being tried before Justice Okon Abang for allegedly diverting about N1.4billion belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) between January and December, 2013, an offence which contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

Trial was expected to continue Monday.

Shell is challenging the jurisdiction of the House of Reps to investigate the process leading to the allocation of oil wells to it.

It is also the company’s contention, in the suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/443/2016, that the planned investigation was subjudice as a similar case filed earlier by Malabo Oil was still pending before the court.

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Hearing was to open in the case Monday before Justice Abang.