The lawyers representing a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo)- Messrs Tayo Oyetibo and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, have stated that they are not bound to produce him before the Federal High Court in Lagos.
Tompolo, who was recently declared wanted, has been on the run since the court summoned him and also issued two warrants for his arrest over allegations of fraud.
The former militant leader is expected to answer to a 40-count of alleged N45.9bn fraud alongside nine others before Justice Ibrahim Buba.
While his alleged accomplices have been attending court proceedings, Tompolo has continued to ignore the court summons served on him.
Oyetibo and Adegboruwa- Tompolo’s lawyers, having been asked to produce him in court, insist that the onus is on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to do so.
They backed their claim with Paragraph 3(b) of the Federal High Court Practice Direction 2013, which states that: “On the date of first arraignment, the prosecutor must produce the accused person in court.”
The lawyers jointly released a statement on Wednesday, where they noted that it was the duty of the EFCC, and not theirs, to look for Tompolo and bring him to court.
The statement was issued in a reaction to the editorial of a national daily, insinuating that the lawyers, who had been taking instructions from Tompolo, should have knowledge of his whereabouts.
The editorial inferred that the lawyers owed Nigerians the duty to produce Tompolo, else they should be disciplined by the court for professional misconduct.
The lawyers however, said they had not breached any law by failing to produce Tompolo, while advising the newspaper to “seek proper legal advice before embarking on passing judgment upon matters bordering on law and procedure so as to avoid falling into the type of grave error of judgment they committed on this occasion.”