The defence counsel in the ongoing trial of five suspected members of a gang that robbed banks in Offa, Barrister Mathias Emeribe, has raised an alarm over life-threatening messages he has been receiving from members of the public.

He was, however, absent at Tuesday’s hearing of the matter, thereby, stalling the hearing.

The accused persons standing trial, Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibikunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salaudeen Azeez and Niyi Ogundiran, were all brought to court on Tuesday.

Prosecution counsel, Professor Wahab Egbewole, who had earlier announced the absence of the defence counsel in court on Tuesday, said that Emeribe called and sent a text message to him on what he described as “life-threatening experience on the road” and suggested adjournment, which the court reluctantly agreed with.

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Speaking with reporters after the court sitting, Professor Egbewole said that the defence counsel called him on Sunday and also sent a text message to him on Tuesday that he could not be in court on Tuesday and suggested a date after the national elections.

“This is just to show on the part of the prosecution that we’ve arranged our witnesses because we have them here from Plateau and Zamfara states, to ensure that the matter proceeds. But here we are,” he said.

The presiding judge, who expressed disappointment over the absence of the defence counsel in court on Tuesday said that the prosecution counsel should have asked for details of the “life-threatening experience” of the defence counsel.

“Does it mean that he won’t step out of his room till after the national elections? I can’t fathom this excuse and explanation, for someone to sit in the comfort of his house and be sending text messages.

"This court is only interested in the timely disposition of the matter and any delay could put the court in jeopardy,” she said.

Meanwhile, Justice Halima Saleeman, however, adjourned hearing on the matter till March 14 and 15, 2019.


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