Obaseki’s perjury case: Court adjourns till Thursday
Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court, Abuja, Wednesday, adjourned till Thursday for Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki, to provide proof that he has appealed a ruling which earlier struck out his application which sought to strike out some paragraphs of the plaintiffs’ reply to his statement.
Justice Mohammed had in November struck out Obaseki’s application as moved by his counsel, Ken Mozia (SAN) that some paragraphs in the plaintiffs’ statement of reply be removed.
Not satisfied with the ruling, Mozia said the respondent approached the court of appeal to upturn the ruling.
At the resumed hearing of the case on Wednesday, Mozia (SAN), told the court that he has appealed the ruling of the court which struck out his application to strike out some paragraphs of the plaintiff’s reply to statement of the first defendant (Obaseki).
He said copies of the record, receipts and acknowledgement letter from the appeal court to buttress the fact that an appeal has been entered at the appellate court were before the court.
He therefore argued that the case cannot go ahead at the lower court, holding that the case be adjourned indefinitely until the hearing and determination of the matter at the appellate court.
However, counsel to the plaintiffs, Chief Akin Olujimi (SAN), told the court that he was served with the notice of appeal which is “unauthorised, incompetent record of appeal prepared by Ken Mozia.”
Olujimi said the document does not bear record of appeal number apart from the one read out by the counsel.
He held that the number is not on the copy of the record which was served on him.
According to Olujimi it is settled in law at the court of appeal that the only to notify a lower court of the pendency of a stay of proceedings is through compilation and entry of record of appeal and by an affidavit, setting out all the relevant facts and not oral notification to the court by a counsel.
“There is nothing before the court that an appeal has been entered in the court of appeal. In the absence of proper notification, the only thing we can do now is for the counsel to argue stay of proceedings and we shall respond to it.”
According to Olujimi, pre election matters are sui generics that needed to be disposed off within the statutory time.
In his reply, Mozia argued that once a counsel shows proof of pendency of a matter at the appeal court the lower court is bond to adjourn indefinitely.
However, in a bench ruling Justice Mohammed, said the court has a duty to find out whether the matter or not has been entered at the court.
“The only justice, in my opinion, is to adjourn the matter to allow the first defendant to present proof that the matter has entered at the court of appeal,” Mohammed ruled.
He subsequently adjourned till 12pm on Thursday.