Yakubu Maikyau (SAN), Counsel to a defendant in a suit filed by EFCC against Murtala Nyako, former Adamawa Governor, and others, has appealed to the Federal High Court, Abuja, to order the EFCC to produce its three witnesses for cross-examination.
Maikyau made the oral application, on Wednesday, before Justice Okon Abang.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Nyako is the 1st defendant, his son, Sen. Abdulaziz Nyako, is the 2nd defendant while Zulkifik Abba is the 3rd defendant in the case.
The EFCC had charged the former governor, along with others, with N40 billion fraud.
They were arraigned on a 37-count charge bordering on money laundering allegedly perpetrated while Nyako was Adamawa governor.
Also arraigned along with them was Abubakar Aliyu and firms allegedly used to perpetrate the fraud which were joined as the 5th to the 9th defendants were Blue Opal Ltd, Pagoda Fortunes Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd.
At the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, had indicated his interest to close his case, having taken the evidence of Kobis Arithimni, who was Secretary to Adamawa State Government during Nyako’s administration, via video link in the last sitting.
NAN reports that Justice Abang had, on October 30, granted EFCC’s prayer to take Arithimni via video link.
Arithimni, who presently resides in the UK, gave his testimony on November 5.
However, Maikyau, who opposed to the closure of the case, on Wednesday, told the court that since the prosecution was unable to call all its witnesses on its list, the prosecution is under obligation, upon request by the defendant, to present such witnesses for purpose of cross-examination by the defence.
“I stand to make the application on behalf of the 3rd defendant that the prosecution be directed by this honourable court to make available witnesses number 12, 26 and 27,” he appealed.
He said: “The witnesses are Adejo Davis, Engr. Lami and Babangida Inuwa.”
The lawyer, who noted that these witnesses were yet to be called by the EFCC, said the call became necessary in the spirit of fair hearing.
He acknowledged that though the prosecution is not bound to call all the witnesses listed by it, Maikyau said the 3rd defendant wanted to take advantage of the principle of law that has been made available to the defence which is only consistent to the principle of fair hearing.
He cited previous cases in Court of Appeal, West African Court of Appeal, among others, to buttress his argument.
He told the court that he was alerted to make the application.
He stressed that he opposed the closure of the case to enable the prosecution produce these witnesses for cross-examination.
He said doing so would also amount to a discharge by the prosecution to assist the defence in establishing their innocence.
Maikyau added that though it was still within the prosecution’s discretion and right not to call their witnesses, he enjoined Jacobs to make them available.
“If there is a witness whose evidence can exonerate any or all the defendants, it is the duty of the prosecution to either call that witness or make him available so that the defence can take advantage of that prosecution witness favourable to the defence,” he said.
The lawyer argued that granting the request would also assist the court in deciding the case.
Counsel to the 4th defendant, Eteya Ogana, who commended the prosecution for bringing the case to a close, said: “we shall be asking for a date to address the court on no-case submission”.
Counsel to the 5th defendant, Olumide Olujinmi, said he aligned himself with the submission of the 3rd defendant.