Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke declined an application seeking joint trial for Babalele, Giwa-Osagie and Giwa-Osagie’s younger brother, Erhunse Giwa-Osagie. Babalele is a son-in-law to former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, while Giwa-Osagie is his lawyer.
The men were arraigned separately last August before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, who was a vacation judge.
Babalele’s case was later transferred to Justice C. J. Aneke, while the Giwa-Osagie brothers’ case was re-assigned to Justice Chuka Obiozor.
At the instance of the defence counsel, Norrison Quakers (SAN) and Ahmed Raji (SAN), the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court ordered the transfer of Babalele’s case to Justice Aneke. The defence counsel later prayed Justice Aneke to consolidate the two cases so that the defendants could be jointly tried.
Ruling on Monday, Justice Aneke said since there was no provision in the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, empowering him to turn down a case assigned to him by the Chief Judge, he could not reject Babalele’s case.