By Martin Cole-
A Nigerian court has threatened to issue an arrest warrant against former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode,if he continues to fail to appear for his trial, according to Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court in Ikeja, Lagos,
Fani-Kayode, (pictured)Cambridge educated qualified lawyer, who now appears to work for the ruling APC party as their political spokesperson, is standing trial on a 12-count charge bordering on the use of false documents, use of fabricated evidence, procuring the execution of documents by false pretence, and fabricating evidence.
Fani Kayode, an outspoken and controversial personality, who is widely criticised for allegedly being a double minded individual, was alleged to have forged medical report(s), which he tendered before Justice Daniel Osiagor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, where he is being prosecuted by the EFCC for an alleged N4.9 billion fraud.
He was arraigned sometime early last year. After his arraignment and commencement of trial, he has refused to appear for trial for about three adjournments, a development which the Judge frowned at. At the last adjourned date, his counsel, Mr Wale Balogun, had informed the court of the absence of the Defendant due to health reasons and issues he had with the Department of State Services, DSS. Mr Balogun had pleaded with the court to grant him an adjournment, with a promise to make him available at next proceedings.
When the matter was called, Mr Chinozo Eze who represents him, told the court that Fani-Kayode was not in court due to health issues. He informed the court that a medical report and a letter seeking the leave of the court to vacate the two dates, is already in the court file.
EFCC Counsel, Zinat Atiku, confirmed the development and said the prosecution’s hands are tied, as to how to forge ahead.
However, the Judge frowned at the constant non-appearance of the Defendant, noting that the last time he was in court was November 4, 2022. The Judge cited a series of excuses that have been tendered by the Defendant for his non-appearance.
Justice Olubumni Abike-Fadipe adjourned the case to November 7, 2023, for the rest of the trial- a six month window that gives the former minister no excuses not to turn up.
Kayode yesterday hailed the inaugurated president. Bola Tinubu as ”resilient, focused, and clear thinking” .
The former minister sparked uproar in March, when he openly attacked British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Ben Llewellyn-Jones, that Nigeria for identifying him as one of those whose actions had been inflaming tension during the Nigerian 20223 elections.
In an unrestrained diatribe, he told Llewelllyn Jones to keep his nose out of the affairs of Nigeria, telling him that Nigerians are no longer slaves of Britain.
He was subsequently accused of risking a diplomatic crisis between the Uk and Nigeria.
Hailing from a lineage of Cambridge educated lawyers going as far back as his grandfather, he is considered by his critics, to lack judgement and boundaries, and is notorious for seeking career favours wherever he can find them, even when it means contradicting his own openly declared principles about the people with whom he later pays allegiance to.
His trial will be of much public interest, both in Nigeria and the Uk.