A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Jibrin Okutepa, on Monday protested an application by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, to take-over the trial of Delta politician, Charles Umukoro, who is facing trial over the murder of his wife.
Umukoro was in May arraigned at an FCT High Court over the alleged murder of his wife, Louisa Eni Umukoro, a former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC.
At the resumed hearing, Peter Okhokhai, a defence counsel in the matter introduced A.B. Mamman as the counsel brought in from the AGF’s office to take over the case.
On his part, Mamman said he was mandated by the AGF to take over the matter citing Section 174 of the Constitution. He said he has written to the Nigerian Police over the issue.
He accused Okutepa, who was authorized by the office of the Inspector General of Police, IGP, to prosecute the case, of hijacking the case from the IGP.
But Okutepa told Justice Maryanne Aninih that he is rather perturbed, the defense counsel claimed to have written a petition to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation which he neither copied the court nor him as the prosecuting counsel.
He described the application as ‘strange’ because it did not conform to due process, maintaining that he has not received any letter from the AGF or the police in respect of the take-over.
“Why would the defence insist on who should prosecute for the IGP, and why would the defence and the said prosecution counsel be in unholy alliance? So this application is strange” he said.
In her ruling, Justice Aninih said the matter has to continue before the court, explaining that, “cogent reasons constituting sufficient grounds for an adjournment have not been made out by the defendant justifying an adjournment of this case at this point.
If thereafter there is any relevant application necessitating the suspension of this matter, this court will definitely take cognizance of same.”
Okutepa had earlier sought to serve the defendant with a copy of the statement of the first prosecution witness, Engr Nosa Ukponmwan, and the audio recording and transcripts of the conversation between the deceased ex-director and the defendant shortly before her death.
The police had accused Umukoro of attacking the wife by “hitting her on the head which caused internal hemorrhage with the knowledge that her death would be the probable consequence.”
Autopsy report from the National Hospital in Abuja showed that the deceased died on April 21, 2016 from ‘subdural hemorrhage’ resulting from two bruises on both sides of the neck, which is a result of ‘external force’.
The defendant, who is said to be former deputy chairman of Sapele Local Government of Delta State, had attributed the injuries that led to the death to ‘domestic accident’.
The case has been adjourned to December 5 for hearing.
07 November, 2017