Thursday 25 November 2021


By: Valentine Adese (JP) and Paul Naomi,

Attempt by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to convince the Plateau State High Court Judge, hon. Justice C. Dabup, to recuse herself from the ongoing prosecution of Sen. Jonah David Jang and one Mr. Yusuf Pam, as Cashier in the office of the SSG has failed, as the Defense Counsels for the two Defendants, E. G. Pwajok (SAN) leading other 7 Lawyers for the 1st Defendant (Sen. Jang) and S. G Odey (Esq), leading S. Oyawole (Esq) in the matter, vehemently opposed the application.

The Application made by the Counsel to EFCC, Rotimi Jacob (SAN), was also seeking for adjournment of the matter, to enable the prosecution assemble more of its witnesses.

The Judge in her ruling on the application emphasized that, if EFCC is withdrawing the matter then, she can disqualify herself.

Earlier, in his application, Rotimi (SAN) had reminded the court that, the matter had started since 14th May, 2018 and that the Commission had called 12 witnesses and that after the rule on No Case Submission by the Court in December 2019, the national lockdown and the Covid-19 issues, the case could not be prosecuted judiciously.

He also added that, the Commission would have wanted the matter concluded this year, but it seems the matter is rolling over to next year, 2022.

“We are proceeding to next year, we would have wanted the court to conclude the matter this year. This is because, the time is not so much for the Judge’s retirement and the matter may suffer the same fate owing to time.

“I wished to front load all the processes in the 1st trial, because it was a trial within trial. For the sake of justice we did not go far in this matter and this is owing to the fact that more matters that had not gone far were been transferred.

“in order to stop wastage we intend to draw the interest of the court to this in order to mitigate avoidable losses, which also includes that of the defense. I have discussed these problems with my colleagues on the time factor and the need to prevent. That is the judicial notice of time.

“I am passionately, appealing to the court owing to the risk”. I hereby apply for adjournment.

But, in a swift reaction, Pwajok (SAN) and S. Oyawole (Esq) vehemently opposed the application for justice Dabup to recuse herself and for the adjournment sought.

Pawjok SAN in opposing the application said, “Our submission is that the presentation is only by a party in this matter and therefore it cannot determine to the court or the Judge to recuse herself.

“The court knows how to regulate itself via its calendar. The court also knows the procedure in delivering criminal justice and so should sit day by day to fast track the trial.

“The EFCC has not looked at the calendar of the court for it to hold that the court cannot complete the case. This is highly speculative!

“The Court has already taken 4 witnesses remaining 8 and we can dispose off the case in good time. The court can also reschedule the hearing, either weekly or otherwise.

“The function of whether to reassign the case to a “Younger Judge”, cannot be by the EFCC. This means they want to take over the function of the court.

“This is over bearing!”

On the part of Oyawole (Esq) said, the time used to deal with the issue the application was a wasted time as the reasons given by the applicant, EFCC, was not tenable.

“the case was fixed for 3days for the court to allow steady progress. What has changed between yesterday and today?” Oyawole asked.

However in her ruling on the two application, Hon. justice C. Dabup said, the court has not in any way stalled the hearing of the case since it was assigned and the Defense Counsels have given their commitment to cooperate and since there is no arrangement for any judge now, the case must go on.

She directed EFCC to call its next witness.

“If you are withdrawing the matter then I can disqualify myself”. She added.

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