Court threatens to strike out Keyamo’s suit against Atiku

A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday threatened to strike out a suit filed by Mr Festus Keyamo, spokesperson of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

Justice James Omotosho who gave the warning said if Keyamo was not ready to diligently prosecute the case, the suit would be struck out on the next adjourned date.

Keyamo had instituted the suit (FHC/ABJ/CS/84/2023) against Abubakar over allegations bordering on money laundering.

Also joined as defendants in the suit are the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau.

Keyamo had earlier asked law enforcement agencies to arrest Abubakar based on an audio recording released by Michael Achimugu, his former aide.

In the audio, the former vice-president was alleged to have explained how shell organisations were set up to divert public funds.

Upon resumed hearing, Keyamo’s counsel, Okechukwu Uju-Azorji, the court at the last hearing had granted an order to serve Abubakar (1st defendant) through substituted means.

Uju-Azorji said while they were planning to effect the service, Abubakar served on them his statement of defence.

“Have you served them the originating process?” the judge asked.

The lawyer, who said he was yet to serve Abubakar the court order, said he felt the defendant’s statement of defence was incompetent since he (Abubakar) was yet to be served their court papers.

Justice Omotosho recalled that he adjourned the matter because the defendant had 30 days to respond, therefore, for Abubakar to have filed his application even before being served with the plaintiff originating process showed he was diligent.

Justice Omotosho then berated the senior lawyer for basing his failure to effect the service of his application on the incompetency of Abubakar’s process because the news about the matter was on social media.

Uju-Azorji also told the court that Keyamo was not in court to give his evidence in the matter.

The judge then warned the lawyer against turning the court into a dumping ground.

Uju-Azorji, therefore, prayed to the court for an adjournment to enable him to serve Abubakar with the originating process.

Justice Omotosho subsequently adjourned the matter until March 23 for hearing or striking out of the case.

Keyamo is seeking an order compelling the anti-graft agencies to invite or arrest, investigate and if found wanting, prosecute Abubakar in respect of the information available to him.

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