Fani-KayodeA Federal High Court, Lagos, yesterday said it would hear the application challenging its jurisdiction to try former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode and erstwhile minister of State for Finance, Senator Nenadi Usman.
Justice Muslim Hassan said unless the issue of jurisdiction is determined, the court cannot hear the application to permit Usman to travel abroad for breast cancer treatment.
Fani-Kayode, in his pending application, is asking the judge to disqualify himself because he was “worried and terrified” that he would not get a fair hearing from Justice Hassan.
He is asking the judge to decline jurisdiction and transfer the case to the court’s Abuja division, adding that Justice Hassan, who worked as a prosecutor at the Federal Ministry of Justice and later seconded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), signed the charge against him when he was previously tried and acquitted by Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia for money laundering.
Usman in her application is praying the court to allow her to be tried separately from Fani-Kayode and for her trial to be transferred from Lagos to Abuja for convenience.
Yesterday, Usman’s counsel, Mr. Abiodun Owonikowo (SAN), prayed the court to consider the former minister’s application to travel for medical reasons.
But, counsel for EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo said Usman’s application for leave to travel cannot be heard, when there were applications challenging the court’s jurisdiction.
He said the issue of jurisdiction ought to be determined first before all other applications were heard.In his ruling, Justice Hassan agreed with the prosecution’s submissions and held that since the defendants have applications on jurisdiction with regards to where they should be tried, as well as on fair hearing, those applications ought to be determined first.Justice Hassan adjourned to March 1 for hearing of all pending applications.