The absence of Justice Obiora Egwuatu of a Federal High Court in Abuja, has stalled the commencement of trial in a suit filed by a former lawmaker, Senator Grace Bent, against Precious Chikwendu, ex-wife of former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode.
The matter, which was on number 12 on the day’s case list, could not proceed due to Justice Egwuatu’s absence.
Recall that the judge was a participant at the three-day Judges’ Seminar, holding at the National Judicial Institute (NJI), Abuja.
The case was consequently adjourned till October 6 for trial commencement.
Recall also that Chikwendu was, on March 10, arraigned by the Nigeria Police on allegations bordering on defamation of character and cyberstalking.
She, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge after it was read to her.
Following her not guilty plea, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Victor Okoye, prayed the court for a date to commence trial and also prayed the court to remand Chikwendu at the Correctional Centre in Kuje.
He said the defendant should be remanded pending the hearing and determination of the matter.
However, counsel to Chikwendu, Mr Alex Ejesieme, SAN, opposed the application.
The judge, who admitted Chikwendu to bail in the terms of the administrative bail earlier granted her by the Police, adjourned the matter for trial commencement.
Chikwendu, an ex-beauty queen, was on February 14 docked before a sister court presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo for attempted murder of her former husband, Fani-Kayode.
However, in an amended 14-count charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR 01/2022 dated and filed by John Ijagbemi on behalf of Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, on April 22, the Chikwendu was said to have committed attempted culpable homicide on November 24, 2018.
She was alleged to have carried two kitchen knives threatening to kill Fani-Kayode, the children and other occupants of the house at Asokoro within the jurisdiction of the court.
She was also accused of making false allegations on November 24, 2018 with doctored pictures with intent to deceive members of the public and make them believe that the injuries in the pictures were inflicted on her by her ex-husband.
Besides, Chikwendu was alleged to have “criminally uploaded doctored/photo-shopped pictures” of her biological child, Liam Femi Fani-Kayode, who was four years old, in order to deceive members of the public that the child sustained injury on his forehead.
The police authorities had also accused the estranged wife of threatening the lives of witnesses lined up in the alleged attempted murder charge against her.
Others arraigned alongside Chikwendu in the 13-count charge dated and filed January 7, were Emmanuel Anakan, Prisca Chikwendu and Osakwe Azubuike as 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants, while others were said to be at large.
They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.