Trial of suspected invaders of retired Justice Odili’s home suffers setback

The trial of suspected invaders of the residence of Mrs Mary Odili, retired Justice of the Supreme Court, was on Thursday, stalled in a Federal High Court, Abuja due to the absence of the police counsel, Matthew Omosun.

Justice Mary Odili [QED]

Upon resumed trial, Usman Jubril, who was counsel for the 6th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th defendants in the suit, said though the matter was slated for trial continuation, the prosecutor was not in court.

He informed that he spoke on phone with the commissioner of police in-charge-of legal who told him that the police lawyer was on leave.

He, therefore, prayed the court for an adjournment.

Dr Musa Suleiman, who appeared for 15th defendant, was however unhappy over the development.

Suleiman said the Nigerian Police Force, a government establishment, is not a one-man office where no other lawyer could appear on Omosun’s behalf.

The lawyer, who expressed his displeasure, urged the court to put the police action on record.

Other lawyers also spoke in the same vein.

Justice Nkeonye Maha, while adjourning the matter until July 19 and July 20, said the adjournment was at the instance of the prosecution.

She also directed the court registry to ensure that the prosecuting counsel is served with the hearing notice of the next adjourned date.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Odili’s home at No 7, Imo River Road, was, on Oct. 29, 2021, invaded by some persons who claimed to be security agents on allegations that the judge was keeping a large sum of money in foreign currencies.

NAN also reports that on Dec. 15, 2021, the 15 suspects arrested over the invasion were arraigned by the police before Justice Maha.

They were arraigned on an 18-count charge in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CR/436/2021 which bordered on alleged conspiracy to commit felony and forgery of court documents.

They include two lawyers (Alex Onyekuru and Igwe Ernest); a serving policeman (ASP Mohammed Yahaya and Hajia Maimuna Maishanu), the only woman.

Others are: Adjodo F. Lawrence (aka Ola Ojo); Michael Diete-Spiff; Bayero Lawal (aka Director of EFCC); Aliyu Umar Ibrahim; Ayodele Akindipe (aka Herbalist); Yusuf Adamu (aka Godson to Peter Odili); Bashir Musa; Stanley Nkwazema; Shehu Jibo; Abdullahi Adamu; Mohammed Yahaya and Abdulahi Usman.

NAN reports that on Jan. 17 a prosecution witness, ASP Madaki Chidawa, who is attached to retired Justice Odili’s home, testified how the invasion was foiled.

Chidawa, who said he had been a policeman for the past 29 years, 15 of which he had spent with the judge, said he knew the defendants when they came to the residence on Oct. 29, 2021, claiming to possess a warrant to search the house.

NAN reports on May 12 that Justice Odili retired from active judicial service after clocking 70 years mandatory retirement age.

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