By Mabel Yakubu
The absence of Dickson Akoh, National Commandant, Peace Corps of Nigeria Ambassador, on Tuesday stalled his trial at the Federal High Court, Abuja, as he begged the court to adjourn his case.
He requested for the adjournment to enable him sit for examination.
Akoh is standing trial on a 90-count charge bordering on alleged extortion and operating an outlaw organisation.
At the resumed hearing, the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned the matter until July 5 following the absence of the defendant.
Akoh wrote a letter to the court, begging to be allowed to write his master’s degree examination at the University of Abuja.
In the letter, dated May 19, Akoh attached the examination timetable and other documents, and pleaded with the court to grant his request.
Akoh promised to attend proceedings at the next adjourned date.
But counsel to the Federal Government, Mr Aminu Halilu, confirmed receiving the defendant’s letter.
Halilu, however, said that the reason was not strong enough because it was not based on ill health, and urged the court to revoke the bail granted to the defendant.
The counsel to the defendant, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), pleaded with the court to consider the action of the defendant as an opportunity that comes once in lifetime and which must not be toyed with.
Agabi argued that even those serving prison terms were always allowed to go for examination.
He assured the court that the defendant would make himself available on the adjourned date, and would never take the court for granted because “he is a responsible Nigerian citizen”.
In his ruling, Tsoho agreed with Agabi that the absence of the defendant could be pardoned because of his letter and the passionate apology offered for his absence.
Tsoho said that for the defendant to have attached the examination timetable of the University of Abuja along with other vital documents was an indication to show genuineness of his reason for the absence.
He, therefore, refused to grant the request of the prosecution for revocation of the bail earlier granted the defendant, but instead asked him to always be diligent in the course of the trial.
The case was adjourned until July 5 for trial.