The trial of the Eze Ndigbo of Ajao Estate, Lagos, Frederick Nwajagu, on a terrorism charge brought by the Lagos State Government could not commence as scheduled on Tuesday, owing to the absence of his counsel.
The proceedings were stalled at the Lagos High Court, sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos as the defendant told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that he was surprised his counsel was not in court.
At the last sitting of the court on May 9, Nwajagu, aged 67, was arraigned by the Lagos State Government on a nine-count charge bordering on an Attempt to do Acts of Terrorism under Section 403(2) of the Criminal law of Lagos State, 2015; Participation in Terrorism Meeting to Support a Proscribed Entity, Attempt to finance an Act of Terrorism, and Preparation to Commit an Act of Terrorism under Sections 12(c), 18, 21, 29 & 12(a) of the Terrorism (Prevention & Prohibition) Act, 2022, among others.
The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the nine counts and the trial was adjourned to July 4 and 5.
When the case was called in court, the prosecution counsel announced his presence but there was no legal representative for the defendant.
Asked by the court about his counsel, the defendant said that he was surprised about the absence of his counsel. He said that his lawyer had promised him that his junior counsel would be in court.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya has adjourned till Wednesday, July 5 for the commencement of trial.
Eze Fredrick Nwajagu was arrested on April 1, following a viral video in which he threatened to invite members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to Lagos to secure the properties of Igbo people living in the state.
On April 5, Nwajagu was docked before the Magistrates’ court by the police on a two-count charge of conspiracy and conduct likely to cause a breach of public peace.
The police prosecutor, SP Thomas Nurudeen told the court that the Eze Ndigbo and some others at large committed the offences on March 26 at No. 2, Akeem Shitu Street, Ajao Estate, Lagos State.
He alleged that Nwajagu put fear in Lagos residents when he threatened to bring IPOB to the state. Nwajagu was also said to have publicly stated that IPOB would shut Lagos State for one month.
According to Nurudeen, these alleged offences contravene Sections 168 (d) and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
Being a remand proceeding to ensure lawful detention, the plea of the defendant was not taken.
The court simply ordered the remand of the defendant at the Ikoyi custodial facility for 30 days pending the legal advice of the state’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Dr Babajide Martins.
Following the receipt of the legal advice which indicated that the defendant had a case to answer, he was arraigned by the Lagos State Government at the State High Court.
Source: CHANNELS TV