By Marie-Therese Nanlong
Jos—Plateau State High Court sitting in Jos, yesterday, threatened to strike out criminal case against former governor of the state and Senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, Jonah Jang, by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, if the commission continued to delay proceedings with flimsy excuses.
Justice Daniel Longji said he had the constitutional right to strike out the case, “but the defence counsel has not made that application, he has only reluctantly agreed to the adjournment.”
He was reacting to the plea by counsel to EFCC, Mr. Henry Ejiga, who said the commission could not produce the witnesses in court, yesterday for security reasons.
The case was slated for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
The judge said if, for security reasons, the commission could not produce the witnesses in its custody, it should have produced the ones not in the commission’s custody, who were not at any security risk.
He added that he was neither for the prosecution nor for the defence, but that he was out to use the Sword of Righteousness.
Ejiga had cited security reasons why the EFCC could not produce the witnesses to testify in court, saying: “We are of great constraint as we have made effort to ensure that we produce the witnesses so that proceeding can go on. But unfortunately, we were informed of some security challenges, as a result, we are unable to present the witnesses today (yesterday).
Infuriated by the delay in proceeding, lead counsel to the defendant, Mr. Robert Clarke (SAN) warned that “criminal trials are enjoined by the law to be speedy, because of that presumption that we are still innocent, we should not be treated as criminals. Justice delayed is justice denied.”
Ruling, Justice Longji adjourned the case till October 30 and 31, and November 1, 2018, warning the EFCC and its counsel not to find reasons to ask for another adjournment.