The relentless pursuit of justice by former Nigerian Information and Communications Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili, in respect of the December 26, 2003 assassination attempt on her life yielded fruit yesterday when the country’s Supreme Court ordered the trial of the key suspects.
The apex court sitting in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, unanimously ruled that the appeal by Messrs Marcel Nnakwe and Emmanuel Nnamdi Nnakwe (a.k.a Aboy) lacked merit and ordered them to return to an Abuja High Court and face criminal charges in respect of the attempt on Akunyili’s life which came in the thick of her battle against drug barons during her days as Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
In the verdict delivered by Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, the Supreme Court declared that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja High Court has jurisdiction to continue to entertain the case against the Nnakwes, whose appeal attacked the competence of counts 3 and 4, as well as the authority of the fiat given to Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), a private prosecutor, by the Minister of Justice/Attorney-General of the Federation. The appeal did not only attack Babalola’s authority to pursue the case but also challenged the jurisdiction of the Abuja High Court to entertain it.
Throwing out the appeal, the Supreme Court held that “counts 3 and 4 of the charge are continuing manifestation of the acts in counts 1 and 2 and are all interwoven elements of one and another; counts 3 and 4 are therefore also made triable by the High Court of the FCT.”
According to the apex court, “An offence which is only an offence by reason of its connection with other offences is triable either where the offence occurred or where the offence to which it is related occurred.”
Reacting to the judgement, Prof. Akunyili said this evening on her Facebook wall: “God is great! He does His things at His own time . . . My faith in God and in the Nigerian Judiciary has been further strengthened by this judgement. I have no doubt that Almighty God who made it possible for me to miraculously survive that assassination attempt engineered by drug barons will also ensure that I get justice in the end. To God be the glory.”