UN office bombing: Prosecutor's absence stalls trial
The trial of four suspected Boko Haram members who were charged over the bomb attack on the United Nations Building in Abuja was on Monday stalled as a result of the absence of the prosecuting counsel.
Justice Gladys Olotu of an Abuja Federal High Court was set to hear the case when she was informed that the prosecutor, E. O. Ohakwe, was absent.
Counsel to the suspects, Ken Duruzo, who informed the judge of the development, added that the prosecutor did not write to explain her absence.
'From the look of things the prosecution counsel is not in court, and I am not aware of any letter.
'The prosecution is not ready to go on with this matter,' he told the judge.
The judge thereafter asked a court official to call the prosecuting counsel on her mobile telephone, but she could not be reached.
Justice Olotu adjourned the case to March 12.
The trial of the four suspected masterminds of the UN Building bombing - Salisu Mohammed, Inusa Mukailu, Dan'azumi Haruna and Abdulsalami Adamu - has been repeatedly stalled as a result of the prosecution's inability to produce key witnesses in court.
It would be recalled that at the last sitting on the case on January 22, the prosecution had begged the court for permission to reopen its case in the trial.
The request followed the earlier closure of the case as a result of poor prosecution.
The four suspects were arrested in Kano after the August 20, 2011 bombing, following which they were arraigned on a four-count charge bordering on terrorism.
However, after a series of adjournments at the instance of the prosecution, the trial judge, Justice Olotu, on November 22, 2013, closed the prosecution's case for lack of diligent prosecution.
Justice Olotu expressed dismay that the prosecution had, after obtaining the court's permission for accelerated trial, failed to provide material evidence needed to prosecute the case.
As a result of the development, the judge ordered the defence to open its case, following which the suspects filed an application for a no-case-submission.
However, the prosecution subsequently applied to reopen its case with amended charges.
The court was scheduled to hear an application filed by the prosecution for permission to reopen the case, and also amend the charge, on Monday.
But the hearing did not hold as a result of the prosecutor's absence.