By Taiye Agbaje
Representatives of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), on Wednesday, stormed the Federal High Court, Abuja for the trial of Prof. Cyril Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL).
While Linda Bala led the delegation of the NBA into the courtroom presided over by Justice James Omotosho, Amina Agbaje, the Country Vice President of FIDA, led the team of other lawyers to watch briefs for their associations.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) is prosecuting Ndifon and Sunny Anyanwu (1st and 2nd defendants) on allegations bordering on sexual harassment and obstruction of investigation.
Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called one of the prosecution witnesses on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threatened her.
Justice Omotosho had, on Thursday, ordered the two defendants to be remanded in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the hearing of their bail applications.
Upon resumed hearing, Wilberforce Otuagona, SAN, announced appearance for Prof. Ndifon and Anyanwu though Solomon Umoh, SAN, their counsel in the last adjourned date was also in court.
Otuagona prayed the court to hear the bail application of his clients before trial continuation.
But the judge told him that the order was to take the trial before the bail application.
He said this was to ensure protection for the witness, who was alleged to have been called on phone by Anyanwu.
Justice Omotosho said he overruled himself in the last adjourned date to take the bail plea first after Umoh who appeared for the defence, pleaded with the court, despite the earlier court order.
He said he was in practice as prosecution for 18 years before joining the bench.
The judge, who said the interest of all parties must be protected, said justice would be done to the parties.
Otuagona and the ICPC’ lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, agreed with the court that the witness be taken first before hearing the bail plea.
Justice Omotosho then stepped down the matter until afternoon in order to clear other cases fixed for today
NAN reports that Ndifon was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.(NAN)