Since 2018 and even before then, some political court cases in the country have been on. Many have spilled over into 2019. Daily Trust Saturday takes a look at some of the major cases
The trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (Rtd), is expected to proceed this year before a Federal High Court in Lagos. The court ordered him to forfeit permanently to the Federal Government the sum of N2.5bn allegedly found on him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Hearing in the application to forfeit $4.8m by a former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, is continuing this year before a Federal High Court in Lagos. The court will on February 11, 2019, deliver judgment in the application for the forfeiture.
Sen Dino Melaye: Attempted murder
The case of the Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye, and the police is before the FCT High Court after the police obtained a warrant to hold him for 14 days on allegations of criminal conspiracy and attempted culpable homicide.
Sen. Melaye was alleged to have along with armed thugs attacked, shot and wounded Sgt. Danjuma Saliu who was on a stop-and-search duty along the Aiyetoro Gbede/Mopa Road in Kogi State.
CJN Walter Onnoghen: Non declaration of assets
A major defining case for the judiciary in 2019 will be the charge of false assets declaration against the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen. The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is accusing the CJN of failure to declare his assets on assumption of office as provided in Section 15 (1) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act C15, punishable under Section 23 (2) (a) (b) and (c) of the same Act.
The charge has continued to elicit reactions that are both political and legal ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Olisa Metuh: Money laundering
The trial of a former Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisah Metuh, over alleged collection of N400m from a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, has dragged on since January, 2016.
However, the EFCC has concluded its case and the Abuja Federal High Court Judge, Justice Okon Abang, ordered Metuh to open his defence. How the case will end is left to be seen.
Sambo Dasuki: Misapprpriation
A former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, is being tried by the Federal Government in absentia over alleged misappropriation of over $2bn funds meant for arms and illegal possession of firearms following his decision not to present himself for trial.
Dasuki’s lawyers at the hearing in December, 2018, demanded the prosecution counsel, Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), to recuse himself from the trial.
NBA President, Paul Usoro: Fraud
The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), was arraigned in December, 2018, by the EFCC on a 10-count-charge of alleged N1.4bn fraud and was asked to step down.
Usoro pleaded not guilty to the charges before Justice Sule Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos. The case continues.
Nnamdi Kanu: Sen Abaribe, others’ N300m bail bond
Nigerians will want to know the outcome of the order of an Abuja Federal High Court for interim forfeiture of the N300m bail bond entered for the release of the leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, by Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, a Jewish priest, Immanuel Shalom, and an Abuja-based accountant, Tochukwu Uchendu, on November 14, 2018.
Kanu, who is facing trial on a three count-charge bordering on conspiracy to commit treasonable felony and setting up an illegal broadcast station alongside others has failed to appear for trial since the alleged army raid on his home in Abia State in September, 2017.
Justice Binta Nyako has fixed March 28, 2019, for hearing of the bail forfeiture.
Nigerians will be interested in how the trial of notorious billionaire kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, better known as Evans, will go this year. He has been in and out of court in different courts in Lagos since 2018. He is standing trials before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the Ikeja High Court, and Justices Oluwatoyin Taiwo and Adedayo Akintoye, both of the Lagos State High Court in Igbosere.
Evans is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka (29), Chiemeka Arinze (39), and Udeme Upong (43), on a seven-count charge of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, attempt to kidnap and sale and transfer of firearms.
In a separate case, Evans is facing charges alongside Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu, Victor Aduba, Emeka, Linus Okpara and Aduba.
Fred Ajudua: Gen Bamaiyi’s $8.4m case
Observers will be interested to see the outcome of the EFCC case involving a Lagos socialite, Fred Ajudua, for allegedly defrauding a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi (Rtd) of $8.4m for legal fees while they were both in custody on alleged fraud-related cases in the Kirikiri Prison, Lagos, in 2004.
Ajudua and some others allegedly convinced Bamaiyi that they could hire the legal services of Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) to secure his freedom, for which Bamaiyi allegedly gave Ajudua $8.4m as the legal fee.
The trial is one of the oldest in the Lagos State judiciary and has suffered a lot of setbacks due to adjournments attributed to a number of factors, some of which are the alleged health challenges of the defendant, his absence in court and inability of the court to sit.
Ngozi Olejeme: Property forfeiture
The case of a former Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and former governorship candidate in Delta State, Ngozi Olejeme, has been on before a Federal High Court in Abuja.
In December, 2018, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu made an order based on EFCC’s application for the forfeiture of her several landed property across Nigeria. Trial is expected to continue this year.
Jonathan’s ex-aide Dudafa’s N1.6bn fraud
A former Senior Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs to ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, lost a no-case submission against his N1.6bn fraud trial.
Dudafa was charged alongside one Iwejuo Joseph Nna on a 23-three count charge of money laundering, failure to declare assets and conspiracy to conceal proceeds of crime to the tune of over N1.6bn, among other sundry allegations.
Observers will be interested on the outcome of the case before the Lagos High Court.
Former Govs Ladoja, Kalu and Shema: Misappropriation
What will be the outcome of the trials of former Governors Rashidi Ladoja (Oyo), Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia) and Shehu Shema (Katsina).
The EFCC accused Ladoja of misappropriating N4.7bn; Kalu is facing a N7.6bn fraud charges in a Lagos Federal High Court; while Shema is facing an N11bn charges case before a Katsina High Court.
Former FCT Minister, Bala Mohammed: Abuse of office
The trial of a former Minister of the FCT, Bala Mohammed, suffered a major setback in 2018 when the trial judge, Justice Abubakar Talba, was elevated to the bench of the Appeal Court.
The elevation of the judge meant the case file had to be transferred back to the Chief Judge of the FCT for re-assignment to another judge. Like all other cases that suffer this type of fate, the trial will have to start de novo (afresh).
Mohammed, who is contesting for the governorship of Bauchi State in PDP, was arraigned on May 10, 2017, the (EFCC) on a six-count charge bordering on abuse of office, false declaration of assets and fraud to the tune of N864m.
Attahiru Bafarawa, Bashir Yuguda and Sambo Dasuki: Criminal breach of trust
The trial of a former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarwa, before an FCT High Court in Maitama has suffered multiple setbacks since his first arraignment in December, 2015.
Bafarwa was arraigned with his son, Sagir, along with a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, and a former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, by the EFCC on a 25-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N4.6bn.
At the last hearing of the case, an application by Dasuki to adjourn the case indefinitely further stalled the trial. The application has been adjourned to February 19, 2019, for hearing.