The absence of a State High Court in Bayelsa on Monday stalled the trial of John Idumange, who raised an alarm over alleged diversion of N3 billion agriculture loan by government officials in Bayelsa.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that court registry staff informed litigants and their counsel that the judge, Iniekenimi Uzakah, was not going to sit.
Although no reason was given for the judge’s absence, court officials said the judge had directed parties and their lawyers in the cases listed to pick new dates for their cases.
The court clerks subsequently fixed Febraury 1 for continuation of trial following agreement by prosecution counsel, Director of Public Prosecution in Bayelsa, Iyobol Apulu and defence counsel, Ebikebuna Aluzu.
NAN reported that the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Bayelsa, Biriyai Sambo, SAN, filed a suit against Mr Idumange for misdemeanour and seditious publications against government officials.
NAN reported that a Magistrates’ Court had on March 11 in Yenagoa, ordered Mr Idumange’s detention for 30 days, pending police investigation.
Mr Idumange, who alleged that officials of the Bayelsa government had diverted a N3 billion agriculture loan and subsequently submitted a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was arrested on March 10.
Some officials of the state government reported to the police that Mr Idumange made seditious publications that maligned their persons in his claims.
However, the State High Court, Sagbama Division, granted bail to Mr Idumange, who was an aide on Research and Documentation and later Social Media assistant to Seriake Dickson when the latter was the governor of Bayelsa.
The case, earlier assigned to a judge, Ebiyerin Omukoro, was reassigned to another judge, Uzakah, following a written request by the state attorney-general to the Chief Judge of Bayelsa, Kate Abiri