Justice Binta Nyako of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday imposed on the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, a fine of N200,000 for frustrating the trial of four co-defendants of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on treasonable felony charges.
Nyako on Wednesday ordered that each of the defendants be paid N50,000 by the AGF for the inconveniences they suffered as a result of the absence of the lead counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Shuaib Magaji Labaran.
The judge, who was visibly angry with the way the trial was truncated, ordered that the N200,000 must be paid to the defendants before the adjourned date of March 17.
During the proceedings on Wednesday, there was no legal representation for the Federal Government at the time the matter was called.
However, as the judge was about to take the adjournment, one Mrs Adewumi Aluko from the Federal Ministry of Justice came in and apologised that the Federal Government’s lead counsel was out of the country.
She announced that two witnesses were in court but would not want to proceed in the absence of the lead counsel and sought an adjournment.
Her apology did not go down well with the judge who counselled the Nigerian government to be more serious in the trial of the defendants.
The judge also extended similar counselling to the defence lawyers to stop using frivolous applications to delay the trial which was started in 2015.
Meanwhile, Justice Nyako adjourned till March 17 for the resumption of the trial.