Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of an FCT High Court in Maitama, on Wednesday, issued a bench warrant for the arrest of two Sri Lankans and their sureties.
It was reported that Saththiyaraj Kantharasa, Vinith Ukantharasa and a Nigerian, Anthony Adetokunbo, were scheduled to be arraigned over alleged possession of fake Malaysian passports and making false statement but the court did not sit and the matter was rescheduled for Wednesday.
They were to be arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
When the case was called, Adetokunbo, who had been remanded at the Kuje Custodial Centre, was in court, but the first and second defendants were absent.
The Prosecution Counsel, Mr Aniekan Ekong, who expressed surprise at the absence of the first and second suspects in court, said that the men were aware that they were supposed to appear before the judge today.
Ekong, therefore, applied for a bench warrant for the arrest of the Sri Lankans to enable them to be brought for arraignment.
Counsel to the suspects, Mr Nonso Nzedebe, told the court that his clients were in court on Monday when their arraignment was initially scheduled.
Nzedebe stated that the Sri Lankans were afraid of journalists covering their case, adding that he had tried to allay their fears.
He explained that when he got to the hotel where they were lodged, the staff there told him that the men had changed hotel.
“They even lied to the hotel manager that I was the one who got a cheaper hotel for them,” Nzedebe told the court.
He therefore did not opposed the prosecution’s application for warrant of arrest against the two Sri Lankan nationals.
Delivering ruling in the application , Justice Goodluck frowned at the absence of the Sri Lankans in court and said that this development stalled proceedings.
She ordered that a bench warrant be issued on their sureties to show cause why they should not be remanded in prison custody.
Goodluck also ordered that bench warrant be issued on the first and second suspects.
She then adjourned the matter until May 27 for arraignment.