Posted by By Ise-Oluwa Ige on
THERE were strong indications, yesterday, that Justice Peter Olayiwola of the Federal high court, Abuja may hands off the trial of the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo.
ABUJA—THERE were strong indications, yesterday, that Justice Peter Olayiwola of the Federal high court, Abuja may hands off the trial of the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force (NDPVF), Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo.
The development, Vanguard learnt, yesterday, followed a fresh threat by the accused person, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, last Tuesday, to strangulate the judge in the open court if he dared come out from his chambers to further sit on his case.
Dokubo is being prosecuted for allegedly planning with undisclosed number of people and societies to topple President Olusegun Obasanjo’s government through unconstitutional means.
He was also accused to have incited people of Niger Delta region to carry arms against their sitting governors over alleged mismanagement of public funds.
He has been on trial since November 2005.
The high court judge, Justice Peter Olayiwola trying him for the offences was scheduled to sit on preliminary applications emanating from the five-count criminal charge of treason preferred against him on Tuesday when the case came up.
But the judge could not come out from his chambers because Dokubo threatened to publicly strangulate him if he dared come out from his chambers to further sit on his case.
He had shouted repeatedly to the hearing of the judge who was in his chambers: “Stupid judge, come out and die! Come out and die! Today is today. If you dare come out from your chambers today, I will strangulate you.
“All these policemen and SSS cannot save you. They will shoot but it won’t have effect. Today is today, come out and die, useless old man” he threatened.
For the repeated warnings sounded by Dokubo in a loud, shrilling voice, Justice Peter Olayiwola was to come out from his chambers to take arguments on an application by the Federal Government seeking secret trial for the militia leader.
Government said there was need to exclude members of the public from his trial because of the identity and safety of its witnesses willing to give evidence against Dokubo. But that was just the judge’s schedule.
He dared not come out from his chambers on Tuesday.
In fact, he adjourned further hearing in the case from the chambers till June 13, this year.
Satisfied Dokubo who was led out of the courtroom Tuesday dismissed the judge as a stupid old fellow who was afraid of death.
Vanguard gathered yesterday that the trial judge, Justice Olayiwola was presently pushing for the re-assignment of the case.
According to the impeccable source who spoke with Vanguard yesterday, the judge was quoted to have said that his life was still dear to him and his family members.
Tuesday’s open threat to kill the trial judge was not the first since Dokubo’s trial began late 2005.
The beginning of the confrontation was the refusal by the judge to hands off the case voluntarily as requested by Dokubo on account of likelihood of bias.
Justice Olayiwola had said that he would not drop the case even as he vowed to hear it to conclusion.
His decision earned him a number of unprintable insults from the militia leader in the open court.
The matter degenerated during one of the proceedings in the case when the accused person openly threatened that he would kill the judge.
He had said that he knew where the judge lived and that his family members would soon weep over him.
In fact, for the intervention of senior lawyers in the courtroom on the day, Dokubo was making to snatch rifle from one of the policemen keeping vigil at him.
Both young and old wigs later blamed the judge for allowing the matter to degenerate that much without rising.
The judge allowed the experience he garnered months ago to guide him last Tuesday as he refused to come out.
Meanwhile, his leading lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo is alleging that the Federal Government was planning to eliminate Dokubo before the May 29, 2007.
He said he got the hints from conscionable security men assigned to keep watch on him.
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