The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has suspended the trial of former Minister of Aviation, Senator Stella Adaeze Oduah, in the alleged N7.9 billion fraud charges brought against her.
Politics Nigeria understands that Oduah was meant to be arraigned today, June 15, but the matter was stepped down by Justice Inyang Edem Ekwo over an alleged threat to his life by an unidentified person.
During the court’s proceedings, Justice Ekwo brought out a publication by a corporate organization in which his life was threatened over the ongoing trial.
Justice Ekwo, who was obviously angry about the situation, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting Oduah to fish out the people behind the corporate body and bring them before the court.
He 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 also stressed that the sanctity of the Court must be respected and that Nigeria is not a banana republic or animal kingdom where lawlessness can be allowed to thrive.
Counsel to EFCC, Ofem Uket, expressed his disappointment over the development and vowed that the anti-graft agency would ensure the culprits are brought to book.
Based on the promise of the anti-graft agency 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 alleged that Oduah misappropriated the sum of N7.9B of public funds while she was a minister under former president Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
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.