Posted by By Ise-Oluwa Ige on
FOR refusing to attend court to face her trial over unconfirmed excuse that she had run mad, a Federal high court sitting in Abuja has revoked the bail granted a Lagos-based nursing mother and suspected drug peddler, Oluyemisi Muinat Lawson and ordered the police to produce her, willy-nilly, before it on October 19, this year.
ABUJA——FOR refusing to attend court to face her trial over unconfirmed excuse that she had run mad, a Federal high court sitting in Abuja has revoked the bail granted a Lagos-based nursing mother and suspected drug peddler, Oluyemisi Muinat Lawson and ordered the police to produce her, willy-nilly, before it on October 19, this year.
The high court judge, Justice Binta Murtala-Nyanko who issued bench warrant against Muinat for the purpose of producing her in court said that the unconfirmed explanation that she had run mad would not stop her trial, saying the court must verify the authenticity of her claim.
But the judge declined a request by the prosecution to issue an order sealing off her premises allegedly built with proceeds from her illegal drugs business.
Justice Nyanko was of the view that caution ought to be exercised.
Issuing bench warrant against her, the trial judge held: "They said she has gone mad. Okay. That is why she is not coming to court to face her trial. That is fine. I don’t care if she breaks the doors and windows of this court. I don’t care. I want her produced in this court at the next adjourned date. The accused must be produced before me," the judge held.
The fact of the case is that on March 12, last year, some operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) nabbed Mrs Oluyemisi Muinat with 20 kilograms of cocaine at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja while about jetting out of Nigeria to Frankfurt Germany.
Her foreign trip was stopped and was detained where she made useful confessional statement that she was into drug trafficking.
After establishing a prima facie case against her, a one count charge of trafficking in illicit drugs was drawn up against her and she was arraigned before a Federal high court Abuja where she pleaded not guilty.
She was ordered to be remanded in Kuje prisons.
But shortly after, her counsel brought an application for her bail on a number of grounds including that she was a nursing mother and that she had a five-year-old paralyzed daughter who solely depended on her.
The grounds upon which the bail application were premised provoked the sympathy of the trial judge and mother of children and conceded to admitting Muinat to bail on a liberal term.
But immediately she was admitted to bail, she stopped coming to court.
Her lawyer who is based in Abuja had to travel to Lagos to appeal to her to attend to her trial even as he educated her on the implications of jumping bail.
Each time Muinat was approached in her Lagos home, she would either give one excuse or the other ranging from giving explanation that her child was sick or that she was herself on the sick bed in a hospital.
The court had to adjourn four times at her instance and directed her lawyer to ensure that she attended court at the last adjourned date.
The position of the court made his counsel to travel to Lagos again but he was not allowed to see Muinat whom her husband said she had run mad.
At the last adjourned date, Muinat’s surety who was already apprehensive of his fate, traveled from Lagos to Abuja to attend court probably to offer some advice on how to get the woman face trial so that he would be able to retrieve documents he released to the court to procure bail for Muinat.
But he was not even allowed to talk as the prosecution counsel applied to court that her bail should be revoked and bench warrant issued against her.
The prosecution also applied that in the event she could not be caught immediately, she wanted her sprawling estate in Lagos which she allegedly built with proceeds from drugs money to be sealed off.
Muinat’s counsel told the judge that he was not objecting to the request.
Said he: "It is unfortunate that the accused person is not in court. We hold the accused person and this court a duty. But where there is conflict between the duty held the accused person and the court, the duty held the court must be given priority.
"All efforts to reach the accused person has been to no avail. Her surety is here. Her husband was trying to play pranks. He said the accused person is in church, at another time on the sick bed, saying she has gone mad.
"In the interest of justice, we are not interested in an accused running away from trial. We will concede to the application of the prosecution. Even if the accused person is on sick bed, bench warrant can be issued on her," to which the judge replied "even if she is mad, we will bring her here."
The position of the judge made two lawyers who were present in court to interrupt. One of them said: "My lord, let us know the date when the mad woman would come to this court so that we will not come here that day"
The other counsel said : "My lord, the mad woman can come. But I am sure I will be in another court on the day she will come."
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