Hearing in the suit of forgery brought against two journalists with the Leadership Newspaper took a twist yesterday following a summon by an Abuja High court directing President Goodluck Jonathan to appear before it.
The summons, which was issued at the instance of counsel to the journalists, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) specifically requested president Jonathan to give evidence in the case of alleged forgery of presidential directives’ bromide published in the newspaper of April 3, 2013.
Justice Usman Musale had issued a summons (subpoena ad testificandum) dated July 15, 2013 to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria courtesy of Federal Ministry of Justice Headquarters, Maitama, Abuja.
The subpoena ad testificandum (summons to testify) stated that the president should appear before the court “from day to day until the cause is tried, to give evidence on behalf of the accused persons “and also to bring with you and produce at the time and aforesaid the purportedly forged document entitled ‘presidential directive’ having on it the seal of the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria published on the front page of Leadership Newspaper of 3rd day of April, 2013”.
The Federal Government, had on June 27, 2013 re-arraigned the journalists namely, the group news editor, Mr. Tony Amokeodo and senior correspondent , Mr. Chibuzo Ukaibe on an alleged 11-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy and forgery.
The journalists were however, granted bail by the trial judge, having pleaded not guilty and the court consequently adjourned the case to July 16, 2013 for hearing.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, the lead lawyer to the Federal Government, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) told the court that he was ready to go on with the trial but Falana informed the court that a subpoena personally signed by the trial judge was served on the presidency via the Ministry of Justice.
Falana also told the court that he had filed a motion on notice asking for an order of the court to suspend further proceedings in the matter indefinitely (sine die) to await the end of the term of President Jonathan to enable him to testify as a witness for the accused persons/applicants.