A federal high court in Abuja has threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on Stella Oduah, former minister of aviation, for her continuous absence in court.
Oduah, now a senator representing Anambra north senatorial district, is to stand trial alongside eight others over allegations of financial fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is alleging that Oduah misappropriated public funds while serving as a minister.
Other defendants are Gloria Odita, Nwosu Emmanuel Nnamdi, Chukwuma Irene Chinyere, Global Offshore and Marine Ltd, Tip Top Global Resources Ltd, Crystal Television Ltd, Sobora International Ltd and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Nigeria Ltd.
They are to be arraigned on a 25-count charge bordering on conspiracy, money laundering and maintaining anonymous bank accounts with First Bank Plc.
At the resumed court session on Monday, Hassan Liman, EFCC counsel, told the court that the prosecution is ready to go on with the arraignment, having served all parties in the matter. However, the former minister and the fourth defendant were not in court.
This is the fourth time the arraignment of the former minister has been stalled, having been previously fixed for February 9, February 22, and April 19.
When asked, Liman noted that the prosecution would call 32 witnesses to testify during the trial.
However, Inyang Ekwo, the judge, said he would fix another day for arraignment of the defendants.
Ekwo also directed the prosecution to get their “house in order” while adding that “a warrant of arrest will be issued against any defendant that is absent from court on the day fixed for arraignment”.
The judge fixed October 19 and 20 for the arraignment.