By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Absence of Professor Ignatius Uduk of the University of Uyo, UNIUYO, who is standing trial for alleged electoral fraud in the 2019 general elections, Monday stalled hearing of the case at Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo.
The professor in the Department of Physical and Health Education was the Collation/Returning officer for Essien Udim State House of Assembly election in the 2019 general poll.
He is being prosecuted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on three-count amended charges bordering on, abandonment of duties, publishing of false election result scores, and lying on oath.
The accused person was supposed to open his defence Monday, as the Court presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang had on April 28, 2022, dismissed his ‘no case submission”, filed through his Counsel.
But during Court proceeding yesterday, the Defence Counsel, Mr. Abasidiong Ekpenyong apologised for the absence of his Client in Court, noting that his absence was on grounds of ill health.
Ekpenyong who told the Court that the accused person was on admission at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, and sought adjournment of the case, saying his Client needed to get well before he could come to Court.
He also presented copy of the Medical Report to the Court, and to the prosecution.
Counsel to INEC, Clement Onwuenwunor(SAN) , however, did not raise objection to the adjournment by the Defence counsel, even as he said that he (Defence) should have been informed about the development earlier.
Meanwhile, a copy of the medical report from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital,
obtained by newsmen after the court proceedings was dated 17th June, 2022 and signed by the Snr. Registrar, Dr. Akintunbo A. O.
The medical report reads in part: “The above named person, who is Professor a Professor in the Department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, Nigeria is a known patient of Urology Unit of this facility who presented on 26th May, 2022 with history of recurrent lower urinary tract symptoms.
“On examination, he was diagnosed to have been suffering from Bladder Outlet Obstruction(stricture) Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (B. P.H).
“Meanwhile, since he has treated and yet to be discharged, he is gradually responding to treatment and will be observed in the hospital for the next three(3) weeks. 22nd June 2022-13th July, 2022 and be placed on monthly appointment thereafter for clinic review.
“He has since been placed on potent antibiotics and analgesic. He is currently on Cap Contiplo OD 0.4mg daily. He has been advised to stay away from strenuous activities to enhance quick recovery”
The trial Judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang adjourned the case till July 27th and 28th for defence.