The 23 Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials alleged to have received the sum of N360m bribe from the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike during the December legislative rerun election have argued against their trial in Abuja.
The accused INEC officials through their counsel, Ahmed Raji filed an objection to their trial at the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation had arraigned the accused persons before the Justice John Tsoho-led court on a seven-count charge.
At today’s resumed trial, the proceedings were stalled after lawyer of the accused persons told the court that there was a pending application challenging the jurisdiction of the court.
Raji argued that having been accused of collecting the alleged bribe in Rivers State, the court in Abuja lacked territorial jurisdiction to entertain the case.
According to Raji, “We have a motion dated March 13, 2017, challenging the territorial jurisdiction of this court.
“All the acts being complained about took place in Rivers State.
“None of the defendants is resident here.
“This is a motion that should be resolved one way or the other.
“We urge your lordship to stay the issue of plea pending the resolution of this motion. Then if my lord affirms the territorial integrity of the court, we can go on with the trial.”
However, the prosecution led by A.K Alilu contended that he was going to oppose the application.
After listening to the lawyers argument, Justice Tsoho ordered the prosecution to file its objection.
Consequently, Justice Tsoho fixed April 7 for the hearing on the motions.