Court Orders Resumption Of Ex-Niger Governor, Babangida Aliyu’s Trial
A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered the resumed trial of a former governor of Niger State, Mr. Babangida Aliyu before Justice Yellim Bogoro.
The former governor and his ex-chief of staff Umar Nasko were arraigned in 2017 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja for allegedly diverting N1.9 billion ecological fund which the state received from the Federal Government in 2014.
The case was, however, transferred to Justice Bogoro after the defendants made an application, insisting that the case be transferred to Niger State where the offences were allegedly committed.
However, the then Chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati withdrew the case file from Justice Bogoro and reassigned it to Justice Aliyu Bappa based on a petition by EFCC.
Aggrieved by the transfer of his case, the former governor filed a suit before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, challenging the decision of the then Chief Judge.
Delivering judgment, Justice Ekwo held that the former chief judge breached section 98(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 when he re-assigned the case file to a new judge for a fresh trial after the EFCC had called 10 witnesses in the matter and tendered several exhibits in evidence.
Justice Ekwo further directed the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, to recall the case file from Justice Bappa and remit same to Justice Bogoro to continue and conclude the case having to take the evidence of 10 prosecution witnesses.