The leadership journalist are being tried for forgery.
A High Court in Abuja has ordered President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it, as a witness, in a forgery trial involving three journalists.
The court gave the rare judicial summon on Tuesday after it approved a tricky subpoena submitted by attorneys of the journalists, listing Mr. Jonathan as a witness.
The case involves federal authorities and reporters of Leadership Newspapers. The journalists are on trial for writing a story, based on sources and documents, of a planned government crackdown on opposition leaders. Nigerian authorities claim the documents used had a forged seal of the president’s office.
According to Nigerian laws, a serving president cannot be summoned by the courts.
Section 308(1c) of the Nigerian constitution states that “no process of any court requiring or compelling the appearance of a person to whom this section applies (Presidents, Governors and their deputies) shall be applied for or issued”
The attorney defending the journalists, Femi Falana, relying on Nigerian laws that shield the serving presidents from court processes, has asked the court to suspend the case indefinitely, until Mr. Jonathan is able to appear before it to testify.
The judge, U. Musaleh, adjourned the case to Wednesday to rule on Mr. Falana’s application.
Federal prosecutors are suffering their second setback in the case. Earlier, they were forced to withdraw the charges after the reporters’ attorney, Mr. Falana, challenged the appropriateness of the Federal High Court – where the case was first filled – to hear the matter.
Mr. Falana argued that forgery is a ‘state’ offence and cannot be tried in a federal court, forcing the federal prosecutors to withdraw the case.
Copies of the court documents ordering the appearance of the president in court are below.
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