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2019 electoral fraud: Absence of varsity don stalls trial in Akwa Ibom

By Isaac Job

Absence of University of Uyo Lecturer, Professor Ignatius Uduk, who is standing trial for alleged electoral fraud in the 2019 general elections has stalled hearing of the case on Monday at Akwa Ibom State High Court sitting in Uyo.

Uduka, a professor in the Department of Physical and Health Education, was the Collation/Returning Officer for 2019 Essien Udim State House of Assembly election in Akwa Ibom State. He is being prosecuted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on a three count amended charge bordering on abandonment of duties, publishing of false election result score and lying on oath.

The Trumpet learnt that the accused person was supposed to open his defence (Monday), as the Court presided over by Justice Bassey Nkanang, had in April 28, 2022, dismissed the “no case submission” filed by the defence. But during the court proceeding, the Defence Counsel, Mr Abasidiong Ekpenyong, apologised for the absence of his client in court, noting that his absence was on ground of ill health.

Ekpenyong told the court that the accused person was on admission at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, and sought adjournment on the matter as he needed to get well before he could appear in court.

He also presented a copy of the Medical Report to the Court which was sighted by the prosecution counsel. Counsel to INEC, Clement Onwuenwunor(SAN) did not object to the adjournment by the Defence counsel but only said that he should have been informed about the development earlier.

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Meanwhile a copy of the medical report from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, obtained by newsmen after the court proceedings was dated 17th June 2022 and signed by the Snr. Registrar, Dr Akintunbo A. O.

The medical report reads in part: “The above named person, who is a Professor in the Department of Physical and Health Education, University of Uyo, Nigeria, is a known patient of Urology Unit of this facility, who presented his medical report on 26th May 2022, with history of recurrent lower urinary tract symptoms.

“On examination, he was diagnosed to have been suffering from Bladder Outlet Obstruction(stricture) Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (B. P.H).

“Since he was treated and yet to be discharged, he is gradually responding to treatment and will be observed in the hospital for the next three (3) weeks, 22nd June 2022-13th July 2022 and be placed on monthly appointment thereafter for clinic review.

“He has since been placed on potent antibiotics and analgesics. He is currently on Cap Contiplo OD 0.4mg daily. He has been advised to stay away from strenuous activities to enhance quick recovery.”

The trial Judge, Justice Bassey Nkanang, adjourned the case till July 27th and 28th for defence.

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