The Federal High Court, Abuja, on Friday fixed Nov. 8, to rule on an application for stay of proceeding filed by former Adamawa governor, Murtala Nyako, his son Abdulaziz and others in their ongoing trial bordering on money laundering.
Justice Okon Abang fixed the date after counsel concluded argument in support and against the motion.
In a bench ruling, Justice Abang explained that ordinarily he would have delivered ruling on the application within three days but cited heavy workload for his inability to give the ruling within three days.
He therefore adjourned the matter until Nov. 8 to give his ruling.
The judge said that should the application for stay of proceedings succeed, the reliefs of the defendants would be granted and that the court would proceed to make consequential orders as contained in the main reliefs.
He, however, held that if the application for stay of proceedings failed, the defendants would be ordered to open their defence on that day.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that counsel to Nyako and his son, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN), who filed the application on their behalf, told the court that the application basically was for the court to stay proceeding pending an appeal at the Court of Appeal.
Nyako, his son and their co-defendants are challenging the dismissal of their no-case-submission on July 19 by Justice Abang.
Agabi told the court that the position of the prosecution in opposing the application for stay did not represent the correct position of the law.
He insisted that the court had jurisdiction and inherent powers to adjudicate on any motion before it.
“Granting of stay of proceeding, depends on the law, facts and on the interest of justice.
“Application for a stay of proceeding is in the interim and at the discretion of the court, which must be exercised judicially and judiciously.”
He prayed the court to grant his application for stay in the interest of justice.
In his response, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Sylvanus Tahir, had said that he was vehemently opposed to the application for stay and described it as incompetent and an abuse of court process.
He prayed the court to dismiss the application jointly and severally.
NAN also reports that the EFCC is prosecuting the former governor and his son, Abdulaziz, two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd, and Pagado Fortunes Ltd, over money laundering offences.
The EFCC had arraigned them on a 37-count charge of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering.
The trial began on July 7, 2015, and the anti-graft agency closed its case on Nov. 3, 2019, having called 21 witnesses to establish its case against the defendants.
Instead of opening their defence, the defendants elected to file a no-case submission in which they argued that the facts adduced by all the witnesses called by the prosecution did not prove the allegation against them.
The court on July 19 dismissed the no-case-submission following which the defendants approached the appelate court to challenge the decision of the trial court. (NAN)