Stella Oduah: CSOs want stalled court case reassigned

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations has lamented the delay in the arraignment of the former Senator representing Abia North in the National Assembly, Stella Oduah, and eight others over allegations of money laundering.

Oduah was removed in February 2014 as the Minister of Aviation by former President Goodluck Jonathan over corruption allegations.

Subsequently, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on December 17, 2020, filed 25 counts accusing Oduah and the eight others of money laundering.

On June 15, 2023, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, again suspended the arraignment of Oduah and others, citing security reasons.

However, the groups under the umbrella of the National Coalition of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria observed that the trial had been stalled 13 times and thus called on the president to reassign the case.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, the National Secretary of the Coalition, Femi Osabinu, called on the President to reassign the case,
adding that the matter was dragging on for too long.

He said, “We vividly recall that the EFCC had since finished its investigation on the matter and filed the case at the Federal High Court, Abuja, on December 17, 2020.

“The case, with Charge No: FHC/ABJ/CS/316/2020 – Federal Republic of Nigeria vs Stella Oduah & eight others, was subsequently assigned to Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja; and since then, two years and six months after, Senator Stella Oduah has yet to even enter the witness box, talk more of taking her plea. This is because the case had been stalled 13 times.

The CSOs call on the president to use his good office and sound discretion to direct the EFCC to promptly apply to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Abuja, for the transfer/reassignment of the case, adding that “Justice delayed, they say, is justice denied.”

The Coalition stressed, “We make the following prayers in good faith, as part of our noble contributions to promoting probity and accountability in the Nigerian public service and bearing in mind the anti-corruption posture of the APC-led Federal Government.”