14th November, 2012
Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf of the Abuja High Court on Tuesday threatened that he would compile the names of lawyers handling cases on behalf of the Police Command in the FCT, who have abandoned such cases.
Baba-Yusuf issued the threat when he discovered that out of the eight criminal cases filed on behalf of the FCT Police Commissioner and listed for hearing on Tuesday, only two had legal representation.
He expressed disappointment over the number of cases abandoned by the lawyers from the command, saying that most of the cases were not being diligently prosecuted by the counsel handling them.
Baba-Yusuf said he would write a letter of complaint to the office of the Commissioner of Police in the FCT over the attitude of the command’s lawyers.
He threatened that he might begin to discharge accused persons “if the prosecutors are not serious in prosecuting their cases.”
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Jusice Baba-Yusuf made good his threat, when case No. six with file No. FCT/HC/CR/50/2005 was called, and neither the prosecutor who filed it nor counsel to the accused, Kingsley Ido, was in court.
When no reason was given for the absence of the prosecutor, Baba-Yusuf struck out the suit and discharged the accused.
Ido was arraigned in 2005 on a three-count charge but since he was arraigned, the police command in the FCT has failed to bring any witness in court.
When another criminal case with file No. FCT/HC/CF/070/2006 filed by the Commissioner of Police against one Samuel Nwosu for alleged armed robbery was called no prosecutor was available in court.
The counsel to Nwosu, Ifianyi Anakwe, told the court that there had been no representation from the office of the Commissioner of Police since the accused was arraigned on July 24, 2006.
Similarly, when the case filed by the Commissioner of Police against one Andy Ifene for Advanced Fee fraud, was called, counsel to the accused, Mary Oganah, told the court that there was no legal representation from the police.
She said the case had suffered many adjournments at the instance of the police “who do not come to court”, adding that since 2010 when the accused was arraigned, there has not been any progress in the case.
NAN reports that ASP Rimamsomte Ezekiel, who was in court for another matter filed by the office of the IGP, promised to collect a copy of Justice Baba-Yusuf’s letter and give to the Officer in Charge of Legal Matters at the Force Headquarters.
Ezekiel said many cases were being lost in court for lack of diligent prosecution.
NAN reports that Justice Baba-Yusuf adjourned all the criminal cases which did not go on as a result of the absence of the prosecutor, to Dec. 29.
He ordered that on that day, the commissioner of police must send legal representation for all the criminal cases in his court.