A Lagos State High Court in Ikeja on Thursday granted an embattled judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Obla, leave to travel to the United States for medical attention.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, a serving judge of the Federal High Court, is being prosecuted alongside Obla by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over N5m bribe.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia through her counsel, Mr. Olawale Akoni (SAN), had sought the leave of the court to travel to the US for urgent medical attention in Morris Height Center, Bronx, New York.
In a 17 paragraph affidavit in support of her claim, Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was said to be suffering from high blood pressure, hypertension, palpitations, and stress related issues.
Counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, had countered the application, contending that if Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia was granted leave to travel, she might jump bail and not come back to face her trial.
Oyedepo also contended that Ofili-Ajumogobia’s request to travel for thirty days was a ploy to stall the trial.
Ruling on the application, the trial Judge, Justice Hakeem Oshodi, pointed out that the court has judicial discretion to rule on the application.
“The prosecution failed to give evidence why the applicant’s sickness cannot be treated in Nigeria. Also how the prosecution came to a decision that defendant would jump bail was best known to him.
“I believe that the 1st defendant as a Federal High Court Judge has a lot to lose if she considered the idea of jumping bail.
“The Chief Registrar is hereby ordered to release the international passport of the 1st defendant to enable her travel abroad between June 7th to June13th, 2017. The defendant must return the passport to the Chief Registrar on or before July 1, 2017″, Justice Oshodi ruled.
The judge also granted the second defendant, Obla, leave to also travel to Houston, Texas in the US for medical treatment.
“The 2nd defendant is also granted leave to travel for medical treatment and must also return his passport to the Chief Registrar on July 4,” the Judge ruled.
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