A former Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, was on Tuesday absent from a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Maitama, where he was scheduled to be arraigned alongside others on charges of diversion of about N2bn meant for the dualisation of Section IV of the East West Road.
Orubebe and others allegedly committed the offences between 2010 and 2010 while he was the Niger Delta Affair minister.
Orubebe’s lawyer, Mr. F. Zimhuan, apologised to the trial judge, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi, for the absence of his client, whom he said suddenly took ill after a domestic accident and was rushed to the hospital.
Zimhuan said the ex-minister’s health was complicated by his hypertensive condition.
The lawyer said, “The first defendant is in the hospital. His absence in court today is not deliberate. He suddenly took ill. He had domestic accident affecting his ankle and wrist. He is hypertensive and the cumulative effect was that they had to rush him to the hospital.
“We want to give the assurance that the first accused will be ready to face his trial anytime he is discharged from the hospital and we pray that it won’t be long from today.”
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission had preferred five counts against Orubebe, alongside Oludare Alaba, Ephraim Zeri (Director of Contracts) and Gitto Costruzioni Generali Nigeria Limited.