On Monday, October 30, 2023, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, presiding over the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, was compelled to adjourn the trial of Nigerian artist Azeez Fashola, popularly known as Naira Marley, on charges of internet fraud.
This adjournment was necessitated by the failure of the police to produce the accused in court, thereby obstructing the trial’s continuation.
Naira Marley is facing an 11-count charge, brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), relating to conspiracy and credit card fraud. During the previous court session on October 6, 2023, the defendant’s legal counsel, Olalekan Ojo, SAN, explained to the court that the defendant was unable to attend due to his detention by the police for questioning in connection with the murder of Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba, also known as Mohbad. Consequently, Ojo requested an adjournment.
In response to this request, the prosecution counsel, Bilkisu Buhari, urged the court to issue a production warrant to ensure the defendant’s presence at the next hearing. Justice Oweibo granted the prosecution’s request and issued the production warrant. The trial was postponed until Monday, October 30, 2023.
However, when the court reconvened on the specified date, the defendant was conspicuously absent. Buhari informed the court that despite serving the police with the production warrant, the defendant had not been brought to the courtroom. She subsequently requested an extension to further engage with the police to secure the defendant’s appearance.
As a result, the Judge adjourned the case to November 13 and 30, 2023, rescheduling the trial’s continuation, contingent upon the successful production of the defendant in court.