Saraki, Ekweremadu, others granted bail.
Replying on point of law, Mahmood told the court that the argument that the second defendant will evade trial should be discountenanced. Mahmood said the second defendant is the deputy chief clerk and appeared before the court without persuasion from anybody.
In his response, Diri told the court that the prosecution does not intend to oppose the bail application of the Senate president. Diri said: “The third defendant is the Senate president of this country and opposing his bail application will disrupt the business of the country.” Diri however prayed the court to refuse bail application of Ekweremadu the former chief clerk and his deputy.
One hour later, Judge enters the court. Prosecuting counsel thanks the court. Diri also said the processes for which the stand down was given had been served. Seeking bail for the 1st defendant, Ezechukwu said the essence of bail application is to allow the accused prepare for trial. Ezechukwu also said that a claim by the prosecution that the first defendant will escape trial does not hold water. He said: “My Lord afterall the 1st defendant was never detained and has been available all through the investigation period. Also speaking, Saraki’s counsel said the prosecution’s prayer that the Senate president should not be granted bail cannot be considered. He said Saraki has been facing trial at the CCT and has never been absent for one day. Saraki’s counsel said: “My lord, the third defendant is the Senate president of our beloved country, he can’t hide, he is too big to hide.”
Mix up in court as two counsels make appearance for the first defendant – the former chief clerk. A counsel, Magaji Mahmood had stood for the 1st and 2nd defendant when another Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Ezechukwu said he is also representing the former chief clerk. However, the counsels sorted the mix up among themselves. Mahmood further prayed the court to expunge his appearance. “Permit me to say we can sort this out, I apply that my appearance for the 1st defendant suffices,”
Mahmood said. Mahmood urged the court to discountenance the processes field on behalf of the 1st defendant by his team. Saraki, Ekweremadu, two others take their pleas – a two count charge bordering on forgery of public documents. All the accused persons plead not guilty to the charges. Having taken counsel to the prosecution pleas, the counsels to the defendants informed the court of a bail application for the clients. But responding, counsel to the prosecution, Mohammadu Diri told the court that he had a counter affidavit. Diri prayed the court to stand the matter down for one hour. Following Diri’s prayer and no objection from the defendants, the judge, Yusuf Halilu stood the matter down for one hour.
The four accused persons enter the dock.
Judge finally comes into the courtroom, many people still standing including lawyers, journalists and some others, for or against the four accused persons.
Saraki is seated in court, all dressed in white Agabda and a matching cap. Ekweremadu is seated beside Saraki dressed in a black Igbo native attire (Isi Agu) and a red native cap. Also present in court is Stella Oduah, Dino Melaye and many other lawmakers alongside their aides.
Court still disorderly, while the court clerks are working so hard to calm everyone. A court clerk uses a list to call names of lawyers who are in the matter. There are reports that a policemen attached to Saraki attacked a photojournalists, barring them from entering the courtroom to cover his trial.
The judge stands down Saraki, Ekweremadu for 15 minutes over disorderliness and crowded courtroom.