The Federal High Court in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, Monday morning refused to strike out or dismiss the criminal charge of money laundering preferred against the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji and his personal assistant, Oyebode Adeyemi.
Moreover the court adjourned the matter to be heard continuously for 14 days starting from 8 April.
The ruling of the court was sequel to an application made before the court by the counsel to the accused speaker, Mr. Tayo Oyetibo, leading two other senior lawyers, Tunde Akinrimisi and Abiodun Onidare, urging the court to dismiss the charge or strike it our on the ground that the prosecutor is not serious or diligent in prosecuting the matter.
Mr. Oyetibo narrated how the prosecutor, Chief Godwin Obla has been asking for one adjournment or the other since the trial of the case started on 24 October, 2012 when the prosecutor called the first witness. Since then the prosecutor has asked for adjournment on six different occasions.
Consequently, Mr. Oyetibo told the court that his prayer is very clear that the prosecutor does not want the case to be disposed off judiciously. He cited Section 36 (4) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which states that “an accused person charged with a criminal offence is entitled to fair hearing within reasonable time”.
He also cited Section 28 of the Criminal Procedure Act that empowers the judge to strike out or dismiss any case and therefore urged the court to strike out or dismiss the charge.
In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Okechukwu Okeke, said that because of overriding public interest, he is going to grant an adjournment. He adjourned the matter till 8 April and 13 other dates for the case to be heard expeditiously.