Nigerian businessman Cletus Ibeto, the Chairman of Ibeto Energy Development Company, faced another setback in his legal proceedings.
The nationwide strike led by labour unions disrupted his scheduled arraignment at the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, on Wednesday.
Initially, the trial judge, Justice Ismail Ijelu, had set November 15, 2023, for Ibeto’s arraignment following the issuance of a bench warrant on November 3, consequent to a motion moved by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The motion to issue a bench warrant for Ibeto was triggered by his persistent non-appearance in court, despite being served with multiple hearing notices.
However, the prevailing strike action thwarted the anticipated court hearing for Ibeto’s case on Wednesday.
The entrance to the court premises was reportedly barricaded by the striking workers’ union, causing a further delay in the legal proceedings against the accused.
Facing charges from the EFCC related to an alleged N4.8 billion fraud, Ibeto, along with his companies, Ibeto Energy Development Company and Odoh Holdings Limited, is accused of conspiracy, fraud, forgery, and fraudulent use of documents in a 10-count charge.
The defendant’s arraignment had previously been rescheduled on September 28, October 5, and November 3, 2023, owing to his consistent failure to appear in court, with legal representation standing on his behalf.
Although the NLC has since suspended the strike action in the early hours of the night, confirmation regarding the court’s next steps for the pre-scheduled arraignment is still pending.