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FG vs Leadership journalists: Court to rule on motion for stay of trial on July 26

By IKECHUKWU NNOCHIRI

ABUJA — Justice Usman Musale of an Abuja High Court sitting at Kubwa, yesterday, slated July 26, to rule on a motion seeking stay of further proceeding in the forgery charge that was slammed against two Leadership Newspaper journalists by the Federal Government.

The two journalists, Mr. Tony Amokeodo and Mr. Chibuzo Ukaibe, were on June 27 arraigned on an 11-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy and forgery.

They were said to have forged a document purported to have emanated from the Presidency.

The prosecuting counsel, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, told the court that the accused journalists had on April 3, conspired to commit felony by forging a document titled, ‘Bromide of the presidential directive’.

Awomolo said the document had the seal of the office of the President and was published on the front page of Leadership Newspaper of the same date.

However, the journalists who were charged alongside the media organisation, through their lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, is asking for an order of the court to suspend further proceedings in the matter indefinitely (sine die) to await the end of the term of President Jonathan to enable him to testify as a witness before the court.

At the resumed hearing of the application, Falana maintained that the continued hearing of the case without the presence of President Jonathan in court would jeopardize the fundamental right of the accused persons to fair hearing, noting that the President was yet to be served with the subpoena ad testificandum that would compel his attendance to the trial.

He stressed that by virtue of section 308, the accused persons/applicants were constitutionally disabled to summon Jonathan to give evidence in this case and he could do that until he left office.


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