A senior lawyer, Mr Garuba Pwul SAN representing former Plateau state governor, Joshua Dariye in his N1.61bn fraud trial at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday withdrew his services.

The court therefore directed the former governor to engage a new lawyer before April 27 to prevent further delay in his trial.

Justice Adebukola Banjoko who presided over the matter gave the directive after granting Mr Pwul’s application to withdraw as Dariye’s lawyer. Mr Pwul’s application was dated March 17, 2016.

Pwul urged the court to grant his application on the ground that by virtue of the provision of Section 36(6) of the Constitution, the defendant was entitled to a lawyer of his choice.

The judge said although the reasons given by Pwul and the section of the constitution he cited do not support his application, she decided to grant it in the interest of justice and in agreement with Pwul’s observation that an unwilling lawyer could not be forced on a client.

Joshua Dariye who is also a serving Senator, is standing trial on a 23-count charge of fraud and diversion of the N1.61bn ecological fund meant for land reclamation and flood channelization works at Bokkos, in Plateau State.

The ex-governor had, before now, failed in past attempts to stall the trial which commenced in 2007 shortly after he left office as governor.

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