The corruption trial of Nigeria’s embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is finally underway in Abuja after he lost another effort to have it adjourned and the drama prolonged.

Lawyers to Mr. Saraki, led by Paul Usoro, arrived at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) armed with a motion for adjournment, claiming they had again filed an appeal to stop the trial, a game they have played for many months. 

Federal prosecutor Rotimi Jacobs resisted the effort, spiritedly telling the court he was ready for trial.  He repeatedly told the court that the so-called appeal was nothing but another ruse, pointing out that the paperwork submitted by Mr. Saraki's lawyer shows that a proper appeal had not been filed because the Supreme Court had already ruled on the matters being appealed.

After both sides argued on points of law, a member of the tribunal was so alarmed at the antics of Saraki's lawyers that he wondered aloud why Nigeria is still stuck at the tactics being crudely employed by Saraki at the trial.

The tribunal took a short break and upon returning, rejected Saraki's application, saying it lacked merit. The trial thereafter commenced after the chair of the tribunal shot down yet another attempt by the defence at an adjournment.

Prosecutor Jacobs then called his first witness for the day: Michael Wetas, who was a detective at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

With Mr. Saraki at the CCT today are about 30 Senators, only one-third of the dense crowd that has usually accompanied him from the Upper House.  Also noticeably absent is his leading counsel, Kanu Agabi.

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