Photo: Sen Stella Oduah, ex-Aviation Minister
Alleged N7.9bn fraud: Judge adjourns Oduah’s trial over threat to his life
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday suspended the trial of a former Minister of Aviation, Sen Stella Oduah over threat to the life of the trial judge in an alleged N7.9 billion fraud case brought against Oduah by the Federal Government.
Oduah is facing charges of allegedly misappropriating the sum of N7.9 billion while serving as a Minister of Aviation during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
Thursday’s planned arraignment of Oduah was adjourned by Justice Inyang Ekwo over an alleged threat to his life by yet-to-be-identified persons.
During the proceedings, Justice Ekwo brought out a publication by a corporate organization in which his life was threatened over the planned trial.
Justice Ekwo, who was visibly angry over the development, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which is prosecuting the former minister to fish out those behind the corporate body and bring them before the court.
The Judge also ordered the Deputy Chief Registrar of the Court in charge of litigation to liaise with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, to obtain the identities of the promoters of the offending organization for the purpose of arresting them.
Justice Ekwo said that sanctity of the Court must be maintained, adding that Nigeria is not a banana republic or animal kingdom where acts of lawlessness can be condoned.
Counsel to EFCC, Mr Ofem Uket in reaction expressed sadness over the development and vowed that the anti-graft agency would do the needful to bring the culprits to book.
He, however, prayed the court not to allow unknown persons acting as external third party to scuttle the trial.
Based on the promise of the EFCC to fish out those threatening his life, Justice Ekwo fixed July 17 for report of the CAC on the owners of the organization and EFCC’S bid to fish out the culprits.
The EFCC alleges that Sen Oduah misappropriated the sum of N7.9 billion public funds while serving as a minister.
Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore, and Marine Limited, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, Crystal Television Limited, Sobora International Limited, and a foreign construction company.
They are charged with conspiracy and money laundering, as well as maintaining anonymous bank accounts.