The defence subpoenaed President Goodluck Jonathan.
Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe are standing trial for alleged forgery and felony.
At the resumed hearing of the suit on July 16, the judge said the adjournment was to enable him make proper ruling on a motion that the case be suspended indefinitely, raised by the defence counsel, Femi Falana.
Mr. Musale said the matter required adequate care before ruling could be given.
“I feel that this is not a matter that I can rush into ruling; for this reason, this matter is adjourned to July 17 for ruling. Ruling shall be made by 11a.m. and the bail of the accused is extended,” Mr. Musale said.
The judge had earlier stood down the matter for close to one hour to consider the motion before the adjournment.
Mr. Falana had argued that the he subpoenaed President Goodluck Jonathan to appear as a witness and the court had granted the subpoena.
“Following our subpoena on the president, we had also filed a motion to the effect that this trial ought to be suspended indefinitely in light of provisions of Section 308 of the constitution. No process of any court requiring or compelling the attendance in court of a government official covered by the immunity clause can proceed until such official ceases to enjoy immunity,” Mr. Falana argued.
He added that since the president could not be compelled to appear in court during his time in office, the case should be suspended indefinitely. He urged the court to consider the application as it was ripe for hearing and would place the defendants in a proper standing to defend the case.
“Having regards to Section 36 sub-section 6 of the constitution, an accused person shall be entitled to adequate time and resources for the preparation of his defence,” he argued.
The prosecution counsel, Adegboyega Awomolo, opposed Mr. Falana’s application on the ground that the motion was not ripe for consideration.
“I was served with the application yesterday at 4.30 p.m. and I am opposing it because it is not yet ripe for hearing. This is a criminal trial between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the accused persons and the president is not a complainant in this matter,” Mr. Awomolo argued.
He said that in a criminal matter, the accused cannot be on the same pedestal with the prosecution, adding that the defence counsel proposing the president as a defence witness would not affect prosecution of the case.
“The tenure of the application is that the president is required as a proposed witness of the accused persons; his presence is not required for prosecution of the case. When it is time for them to open defence, they can make this kind of application but for now, the prosecution has a duty to proceed with trial,” he stated.
Mr. Amokeodo, the political editor of Leadership Newspapers; Mr. Ukaibe, a political reporter, and the company secretary, Omofuma Juliane, were arraigned on June 27 on an 11-count charge of forgery and felony following a story they wrote on alleged plans by the presidency to clamp down on opposition leaders.
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