There was a mild drama at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Monday when a police lawyer, Victor Okoye fumbled for words while trying to cite an authority to support his argument.
He also could not remember the name —Nigerian Weekly Law Report (NWLR ), calling it NOLR, which led to about 5 minutes of silence on court.
And when the judge asked him what NOLR means, he said he did not know.
This happened at the resumed hearing of the case involving a young pharmacist, Solomon Akuma, who was arrested on April 2, 2020 in Aba, Abia State for a social media post against President Muhammadu Buhari and the late Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
The matter was slated for adoption of the written addresses by the parties involved in the matter.
But the prosecution counsel in an attempt to cite an authority referred to Nigerian Weekly Law Report (NWLR) as (NORL), in response to the argument of the defence counsel who had submitted that only the Attorney General of the Federation has the power to prosecute a charge bordering on terrorism.
After struggling with the name, the trial judge was compelled to ask him the meaning of what he wanted to say but he said he did not know it. He could not also proceed with the citation as he was silent for about five minutes.
The judge, therefore, asked him to avail the court with the authority before the next adjourned date.
Meanwhile, the defence counsel, Emmanuel Ukaegbu after he had adopted his written address, submitted that the charge upon which the defendant was facing trial was not filed and that it was just an exhibit to the motion on notice.
He added that on that ground, the charge was not competent and valid.
Ukaegbu also submitted that upon the ammendments of the charges, the prosecution ought to have filed a fresh charge wherein the prosecution would endorse the order amending the charge but that was not done.
On counts 5 and 6 which bordered on terrorism, Ukaegbu argued that the Act upon which the charge was brought mandated that only the Attorney General of Federation has the power to prosecute the defendant on any issue related to terrorism.
He argued that the Nigeria Police Force has no power to prosecute the defendant.
Ukaegbu also submitted that none of the counts mentioned where the purported crime was committed by the defendant, which he said was an essential ingredient in any criminal case.
He cited the case of Belgore Vs FRN 2021 NWLR Page 503, where the Supreme Court was specific that every charge must state clearly where the crime was committed, which he said was completely missing in the submission of the prosecution counsel.
Also on count 7 which bordered on treasonable felony, the defence counsel explained that none of the prosecution witnesses made any reference in their statement to the offence.
He, therefore, urged the court to dismiss all the charges brought against the defendant and discharge and acquit him.
The judge, after listening to the submission of both parties, adjourned the case to November 22, 2021 for judgement.