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Wife murder: Lawyer opposes AGF’s take-over of politician”s case

An application by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to take over the trial of Delta politician,…

An application by the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) to take over the trial of Delta politician, Charles Umukoro, who is charged with the murder of his wife, has been opposed by prosecution counsel, Jibrin Okutepa (SAN).

Okutepa was authorized by the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to prosecute Umukoro, who was in May arraigned at an FCT High Court over the alleged murder of his wife, Louisa Eni Umukoro, a former director of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

At the resumed hearing, Peter Okhokhai, a defence counsel in the matter introduced A.B. Mamman as the counsel brought in from the AGF’s office to take over the case.

On his part, Mamman said he was mandated by the AGF to take over the matter citing Section 174 of the Constitution. He said he has written to the Nigerian Police over the issue.

But Okutepa told Justice Maryanne Aninih not to approve the application as it did not comply with due process, adding that the counsel ought to put him on notice in the petition to the AGF. He argued that the court has not received any letter from the AGF or the police in respect of the take-over.

Okutepa said the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and the Supreme Court verdict in Osahon and the Federal Republic of Nigeria made provisions for private prosecutors for the police.

Justice Aninih ruled that the matter has to continue because the defendant has not made out cogent reasons justifying the take over and suspension of the matter.

Earlier, Okutepa had sought to serve the defence and tender a copy of the statement of the first prosecution witness, Engr Nosa Ukponmwam, and the audio recording and transcripts of the conversation between the deceased ex-director and the defendant.

The case has been adjourned to December 5 for hearing.

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