Lawyer and civil-right activist Femi Falana, SAN, appeared at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday.
Falana is one of the persons invited by the Federal High Court in Abuja to give their testimony as a defense witness in the on-going trial of Abulrasheed Maina, the ex-chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team.
The civil rights activist who was in the company of SaharaReporter publisher, Omoyele Sowore, said although he did not receive a due subpoena inviting him to court, he only learned from the media about his invitation, adding that he only attended out of respect for the court.
On March 8, 2021, following the appearance of Maina lawyer, the court had issued subpoenas to some persons, including Falana, Abubakar Malami (SAN), Attorney of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and former boss of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu to present themselves in the court between March 9 to 11 to give their testimony in the on-going trial of Maina.
All of those served with the subpoenaed did not attend the court until Thursday, when Falana showed up.
After about 30 minutes of waiting without been recognized, Falana stood up to the judge to announce his presence in the court.
He said, “My lord, I have been in court for about 30 minutes now. I read in the newspapers that I was summoned to testify in the ongoing case. I have not been served with a copy of the subpoena, but I came out of respect for the court.”
The Judge, Justice Okon Abang, said though Maina’s lawyer petition for the issuance of the subpoenas at a very period of time, he further revealed that he signed the subpoena in view of the Court Appeal’s decision in the case which he had declined.
“I signed it based on the Court of Appeal’s decision that compelled me to sign it in the matter of Olisa Metuh Vs. The Federal Republic of Nigeria,” he said.
Justice Abang asked the registrar to serve Falana the subpoena in the court’s registry.
When speaking with newsmen, following his exit from the court, Falana said the subpoena would give him the opportunity to “put an end to the needless controversy surrounding a property I never bought.”
Ngozika Ihuoma, Maina’s first witness during her testimony on March 4, 2020, alleged that the funds and property recovered by Maina PRTT were grossly mismanaged after being handed to the EFCC.
The judge, Justice Abang, adjourned the trial till March 17 for the person served with the subpoenaed to appear in court.