Court laments incessant delays in trial of anti-Tinubu air passenger, Uja

A Federal Capital Territory Magistrate Court sitting at Zuba Wednesday lamented incessant adjournments and delays in the trial of an anti-Tinubu air passenger, Barrister Obiajulu Hansel Uja, for criminal offense.

Uja, an ‘Obidient supporter’ it would be recalled was arrested in April last year when he caused uproar during an Abuja-Lagos Ibom Air flight with his lone protest and demanded that Bola Ahmed Tinubu, then a president-elect, must not be inaugurated as Nigeria’s President on May 29.

The defendant, a lawyer, had since been put on trial before Magistrate Abdulazeez Ismail Muhammad of the Zuba Magistrate’s Court.

He was charged with public nuisance, resistance to lawful arrest, threatening violence and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace contrary to sections 396, 267, 188,172 and 144 of the Penal Code Law.

He has since pleaded not guilty to all the charges but was denied bail by the trial court for various reasons.

At the proceeding slated for definite cross examination of a prosecution’s witness, Magistrate Muhammad was shocked when he discovered that neither the federal government’s lawyer, Umo Inna, nor defence lawyer, P. U Ogbadu, was present in court.

To make matter worse, no explanation was offered for their absence in court.

Muhammad who was taken aback by the development said in a brief ruling that ability to remain relevant as an institution requires the need to recognise challenges and begin to take difficult decisions.

“Frivolous adjournment in criminal matters must be prohibited. In the instance of this case, I will lean on the side of substantial justice to grant an adjournment at the instance of the prosecution.”