27 November 2013, Lagos – The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Ayotunde Phillips has directed Justice Lateefat Okunnu to continue presiding over the trial of an oil marketer, Abdullahi Alao, and four others for fuel subsidy fraud.
Okunnu made this known on Tuesday at the resumed trial of Alao and the others before an Ikeja High Court.
Abdullahi, son of a prominent businessman, Alhaji Abdullazeez Arisekola-Alao, was charged with N1.1 billion fuel subsidy fraud.
He is facing trial alongside two other oil marketers, Olarenwaju Olalusi and Opeyemi Ajuyah, and their companies – Majope Investment Ltd. and Axenergy Ltd.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Alao had on Oct. 23, petitioned the Chief Judge, asking her to transfer the case from Okunnu to another judge.
He had claimed in the petition that Okunnu was biased, and that he would not get justice from her.
During Tuesday’s proceedings, Okunnu informed the parties in the suit that the chief judge had directed her to continue with the trial.
She noted that there were pending applications before the court which must be heard before continuation of the trial.
NAN reports that one of the pending applications was filed by Alao.
He is asking the court to set aside its ruling which dismissed his previous application to quash the charges.
The other pending application was filed by Olalusi.
He is seeking the release of his international passport to enable him to travel abroad for medical treatment.
The court adjourned the case to Dec. 6 for hearing of the pending applications.