Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Thursday, 21 November, 2019, reprimanded Adeola Adedipe, counsel to the second defendant in the trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, for telling the court that its ruling on the case would be thrown out at the Appeal Court if it refuses to allow a thorough medical examination on Maina’s state of health.
Justice Abang, who was irked by Adedipe’s utterances, described it as contemptuous, warning that his court would not tolerate any attempt by any of the parties to scuttle the trial.
Events took a dramatic turn when Maina was feebly taking his medications in the court in the full glare of the media, lawyers and all others present, forcing the court to go on recess at the request of his lawyer, Francis Oransanye to allow his client some privacy.
At the resumed sitting, Oransanye told the court that the health of his client had deteriorated and prayed the court to adjourn the matter to a later date because of Maina’s health condition.
Adedipe, who is counsel to Maina’s Common Input and Property Investment Limited told the court that there were three major issues from the last proceedings that reflected on the day’s proceeding, which he said, included ruling on bail application, medical report from the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS) and reaction of the prosecution on admissibility of documents sought to be tendered by the defence, arguing that trial should be put on hold for the bail to be addressed .
In his response, prosecution counsel, M.S Abubakar opposed the issues raised by the defence team, noting that the issue of bail application and medical report were in respect of the first defendant and not for his company, which Adedipe represents.
Abubakar further noted that the matter was adjourned until today, November 21, 2019, for continuation of trial.
The prosecution counsel while further objecting to application for adjournment, argued that the pending bail ruling cannot stop trial in criminal proceedings.
He added that proceedings should continue irrespective of whether the defendant is in custody or on bail.
Addressing counsel to the first defendant, Abubakar stated that the counsel was not a medical practitioner and wondered how he determined the genuine state of the health of his client.
Justice Abang adjourned the matter until November 25, 2019, for continuation of trial, adding that there shall be a day-to-day proceedings upon resumption.