Mr. Umo Eno, PDP governorship candidate, Akwa Ibom State.

Abasifreke Effiong

Mr. Umo Eno, governorship candidate of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, who is standing trial for alleged certificate forgery opened his defense on Thursday 15th September.

He subpoenaed three witnesses including the West African Examination Council, WAEC.

Eno, who is the 2nd defendant in the case in his earlier subpoena informed the Court that his witnesses will testify in Court, however, during hearing on Thursday, Eno begged the Court to allow his witnesses present relevant documents to the case and should not be cross-examined.

His appeal was opposed by the plaintiff’s counsel led by Mr. Okey Amaechi, SAN.

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Mr. Ameachi insisted that the 2nd defendant should make a formal application to the court if he wishes to change his subpoena to reflect his new appeal.

The Court went on a-30 minute break allowing the defendant to apply for a new subpoena.

Eno’s first witness, Barr. Emmanuel Essien, a staff of the office of the Attorney General, Akwa Ibom State, presented two letters addressed to the Attorney General of the State. The first letter was confirmation of result belonging to Eno, Umo Bassey.

His second letter, still a confirmation of result belonging to Bassey, Umo Eno.

The second witness, one Noble Irogbereschi, who told the court that he is a senior assistant registrar 1 with the West African Examination Council, Uyo, presented Certified True Copy of June 1981 WAEC result belonging to Bassey, Umo Eno and a Certified True Copy of General Certificate of Education of December 1983 belonging to Eno, Umo Bassey.

Irogbereschi also presented two letters titled, “RE:Investigation Activities” addressed to the Nigeria Police Force, Department of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

The plaintiff’s lead counsel, Mr. Okey Amaechi, SAN, citing section 219 of the Evidence Act, sought to cross-examine the witness from WAEC saying that since he has entered the witness box and has sworn on oath as a witness, he became a witness in the case.

Counsel to the 2nd defendant, Mr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, who guided Irogbereschi in his presentation to the Court opposed the cross-examination of the witness.

Relying on Section 218 and 219 of the Evidence Act, Nwoko argued that Irogbereschi was subpoenaed to produce a document to the court and was not subpoenaed as a witness.

In his ruling, the Judge, Justice A.A. Okeke, said that the witness did not testify in the case and cannot be cross-examined.

Justice Okeke ruled that a witness was at liberty to produce documents to the Court either from the floor of the Court or the witness box, adding that producing the documents under oath from the witness box does not make a person subpoenaed to produce a document a witness in the case and therefore cannot be cross-examined.

The 2nd defendant’s third witness was one CSP Chris Endeley, a police officer with the Akwa Ibom State Command.

CSP Endeley who was subpoenaed as a witness in the case will be cross-examined on Tuesday 20th September when the court reconvenes for the case.