A Federal High Court sitting in Jalingo on Wednesday ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to present the governorship candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Taraba State, Alhaji Sani Abubakar Danladi before the Court on January 15.
Danladi is standing trial along with two other persons, Senator Joel Ikenya and former Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon Mark Useni in a case of alleged fraud to the tune of ₦450 million preferred against them by the anti-graft agency.
They are facing a two count charge of conspiracy and violation of financial regulations for allegedly collecting ₦450 million from former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to prosecute the 2015 general election.
The order was sequel to the failure of the EFCC to present Danladi in court after the presiding judge had earlier issued summons compelling the APC gubernatorial candidate to appear before the court during its last sitting on October 23.
During Wednesday’s proceedings, counsels to the first and second defendants, Festus Idepefo and Ibrahim Effiong prayed the court to withdraw the case for failure of the EFCC to produce Danladi after two sittings.
They argued that the case had dragged for too long, stressing that it was an injustice to keep adjourning the case because one other defendant has kept evading court sittings despite summons.
Counsel to Danladi, Yakubu Maikasuwa also argued that his client was absent in court due to the failure of the prosecuting counsel to serve him the summons.
However, counsel to the EFCC, Israel Akande concurred with the claim of the counsel to the third defendant and sought the approval of the court to serve Danladi the summons through substituted service in order for the case to proceed at a later date.
Delivering his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Stephen Pam ordered the anti-graft agency to present Danladi on the next adjourned date of January 15, 2019.
Interestingly, while the case was being heard, hundreds of protesting youths barricaded the gate of the court carrying placards with various inscriptions condemning what they described as an attempt by the Federal Government to use the EFCC to shield Danladi from trial.