By Adebisi Adeyemi Lagos, Nigeria
The trial of Joshua Dariye, a former Plateau State governor, who is facing an alleged N1.162 billion fraud charge before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Gudu, could not continue on June 19, 2017 as he did not come to court with his new counsel.
The serving senator, whose counsel, G.S. Pwul, SAN, withdrew from his defence in March (having opened defence in June 2016), instead, approached the court with a personal letter, without a counsel to represent him.
The trial judge had given Dariye about three months to get himself a new counsel to represent him in the case. He however, appeared in court without a counsel. The prosecution, led by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had closed its case against him on June 6, 2016.
In the letter dated June 14, 2017 with the Seal of the Senate and Reference No JCD/NASS/FCTHCRT/PLC/14/06, Dariye did not mention whether he had utilized the period to avail himself a new counsel, but instead, sought for an adjournment based on medical grounds. He also attached a medical report from Makkah Specialist Hospital, Kano, where he had undergone the eye surgery.
“I had notified this Honourable Court and your Lordship of my travail with my right eye that led to eye surgery,” he wrote, informing the court that he underwent two different surgeries on April 11, 2017 and May 30, 2017 at the hospital.
He informed the court that even with the surgery, he was “battling with a blurred vision” and “reading is completely difficult, each time I try, I end up with dizziness and severe headaches”. He also complained of the instability of his blood pressure.
While pleading with the court “for your understanding to allow me up to the end of July 2017 in view of my health challenge”, Dariye added that he would need to travel abroad for further treatment. He then asked the court that his international passport be released to him.
Justice Banjoko, who adjourned to September 18, 2017 for “continuation of trial”, however, instructed him to make sure he came to court with his new counsel, who should “move the motion seeking for the release of your international passport”, and ordered that “the counsel should also be the one to take up the matter to the end, and it would be a day-to-day trial”.