Court Fails To Sit For Trial Of Anti-Tinubu Protester Arrested On The Plane



Mr Obiajulu Uja


The trial of an Anti-Tinubu protester, Mr Obiajulu Uja, who was arrested on a plane was stalled at the Zuba Magistrate Court in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Thursday, after prosecutors, the defendant, and counsels were nowhere to be found.

The absence of the litigation parties caused the trial to stall with the court adjourning the case till September 26.

The update on the court trial was made known by a source quoted by PR Nigeria who said; “The matter is adjourned to the 26th day of September, 2023 for a report on the health condition of the defendant and hearing notice be served on the Correctional Facility.”

Prior to today’s trial, the Zuba Magistrate Court in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, had in June, ordered the Kuje Correctional facility to continue holding Mr. Obiajulu Uja, in their custody.

Recall that some security agents had on the evening of Friday, March 31, 2023, removed the passenger (Uja) from an Ibom Air flight over unruly behavior before the take-off.

The man reportedly shouted on the airplane that on no account should Bola Tinubu (who was the President-elect then), be sworn in as the Nigerian leader on May 29.

His strange behavior attracted the attention of other passengers and flight attendants who called in some security personnel and forcibly removed him from the plane.

After his arrest, the ‘Obidient’ supporter was said to be mentally unstable, according to a medical report tendered to the Court at previous hearings, on the case.

But Magistrate Abdulazeez Ismail Muhammad, the trial judge, at the hearing on the matter (then), referred him back to the medical facility at Kuje Correctional facility, for further urgent medical treatment for a period of 2 months.

After listening to submissions of the prosecutor and defence counsels on bail application as well as the examination of the medical report which presupposed that the defendant is suffering from mental disorder, the magistrate noted that the defendant is of unsound mind and consequently is not fit for trial.

According to Magistrate Abdulazeez, since only a sane person could stand trial, it would be unsafe for the court to deliver its ruling on the bail application at that stage.

The magistrate said: “Having equally found that the defendant needs urgent further treatment and having released the medical observation report is not too conclusive on the peculiar mental challenge of the defendant and in the interest of justice the appropriate thing for the court to do is to further subject the defendant to further medical care at the expense of the federal government.

“Thus, I hereby refer the defendant back to the medical facility at Kuje Correctional Center for further urgent medical treatment for a period of two months at the expense of the federal government of Nigeria pursuant to the provision of Section 278(4).

“The control of the corrections (medicals) is at liberty to engage experts from other medical facilities within the FCT. However, if the mental soundness of the defendant appropriates during this period and before the expiration of the period, the medical officer shall file a report forthwith to enable the court proceed with trial including delivering its ruling on the the defendant’s bail application”.


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