A battle is on to stop the forfeiture of $5.7 million and 2.421 billion Naira belonging to the wife of a former President, Mrs Patience Jonathan, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

But the case before an Appeal Court suffered a setback on Wednesday when one of the judges handling the case threw in the towel.

He is recusing himself from the hearing handled by a 3-man panel, reducing the number to 2.

He says it is on personal grounds.

Three judges are required to form a quorum so that the judgement will be a 2-over-3 situation.

The recusing judge’s name was not mentioned, but Justice John Ikyeh, who presided over the appeal alongside Justices Abimbola Obaseki-Adejumo and Abrahim Georgewill, read the decision of the judge to the court.

He said: “One of us is going to recuse himself from this case for personal reasons, so we are not complete. Two of us cannot make a quorum".

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One of the parties in the case, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), who was represented by their counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, wants the appeal heard as early as possible.

He suggested that the court could hear the appeal during the annual court vacation.

“If we can be accommodated during vacation. Our challenge is that the trial court has stayed proceedings over the subject matter of this suit,” Oyedepo said.

The vacation will end in the second week of September.

His request was noted by the court, but a quorum was needed to make the hearing possible.

The judges turned down request, saying it would wait till a quorum is formed.

The court will reconvene on September 18.