Court fixes Nov. 22 to arraign Sen. Stella Oduah over alleged N5bn fraud


Court fixes Nov. 22 to arraign Sen. Stella Oduah over alleged N5bn fraud

An Abuja Federal High Court on Wednesday fixed Nov. 22 for the arraignment of a former minister of aviation, Sen. Stella Oduah, APC, Anambra North Senatorial District.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had filed a suit against Oduah, who recently cross-carpeted from her former party, the PDP, to the ruling APC, bordering on alleged corruption while she was a minister.

The ex-minister was initially scheduled for arraignment before Justice Inyang Ekwo on Tuesday, but the court could not sit due to the Eid-el-Maulud public holiday that was declared by the federal government.

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The court on Wednesday nonetheless fixed Nov. 22 and November 23 for the long expected arraignment of Sen Oduah.

It would be recalled that the trial judge, Justice Ekwo had, on July 12, threatened to issue a warrant of arrest against the former minister if she failed to appear in court by the next adjourned date (October 19).

Justice Ekwo had given the warning after hearing Hassan Liman, SAN, counsel to the EFCC, who informed the court that Oduah and a co-defendant were not in court to take their pleas.

The court had earlier fixed Feb. 9 for the arraignment of the former minister, but due to the fact that Oduah was not served with the court processes then, it could not go on with the arraignment.

The court again fixed April 19 for the arraignment but the matter could not hold also due to the then prevailing strike by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).

Sen Oduah, a divorcée and ex-wife of a retired Nigerian Army Colonel, who lost her first son in Aug 2016 to alleged brain hemorrhage due to substance abuse, is to be arraigned alongside others in a suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/316/20.

Oduah, one of the very few serving female senators in Nigeria’s National Assembly, is charged with misappropriating public funds to the tune of N5 billion while serving in office under erstwhile President Goodluck Jonathan, who later sacked her.

Only recently, Pandora box in leaked documents also reported that the embattled senator bought properties in London, UK, valued at about N5 billion while she was still a serving minister in the President Jonathan cabinet.

It is now left to be seen if Oduah’s long overdue arraignment will finally hold on the newly fixed date of Nov. 22 or be adjourned again for the umpteenth time.

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