The Federal High Court, Uyo, on Wednesday ordered the arrest of the chairman of Communications Trends Limited, Uzoma Udemba, for allegedly showing matches of the English Premier League (EPL) without the authorization of the official broadcast company, MultiChoice Nigeria Limited.
Justice Agatha Okeke issued a warrant for Udemba’s arrest after he failed to appear in court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Udemba alongside his company, Communication Trends Limited and one Samuel Onyeanuforo for allegedly broadcasting the EPL matches without the permission of MultiChoice Nigeria Limited on November 19 last year.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge preferred against them by the commission and were granted bail in the sum of N3m each with a surety each in like sum.
The matter was adjourned till Wednesday for the commencement of trial.
At the resumption of the trial, the defence counsel, S. O. Okuguni, informed the court that Udemba was unavailable due to ill-health and was receiving treatment in the United States.
He appealed a long adjournment to enable his client to come back for his trial.
The EFCC counsel, Nwandu Ukoha, however, informed the court about the prosecution’s readiness to commence trial as four prosecution witnesses who travelled down from various states were present in court.
Ukoha said: “My lord, these people came all the way from Lagos, Kaduna and Enugu and we are ready for this trial. My Lord, we will take your mind back to the provisions of Section 352 (b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act so that on the next date if he is not here, the prosecution can go on with the trial in absentia.”
He urged the court to revoke the bail granted the defendant and issue a warrant for his arrest.
The judge granted the prosecution’s prayer and issued a bench warrant against Udemba and adjourned the case to February 24, 25, and 26 for trial.