Elections Delay Trial Of Ex-Niger Governor, Babangida Aliyu

 

 

A Federal High Court in Minna, Niger State has adjourned the trial of former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu, and his former Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko to April 15, 2019.

The duo is alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to have laundered Ecological Fund to the tune of N2 billion, released by the Federal Government to Niger State in 2014.

Counsel to the prosecution, J.S. Okutepa, SAN, in an application seeking for adjournment, before Justice Yalim S. Bogoro, asked for an adjournment, noting that he needed time to sit with the investigation officers, who were on election duties.

“Some of my witnesses are not around because they are concerned about electoral matters. So those are the reasons why we apply for a new date.”

“We applied for an exhibit, which is huge because we just came into the matter, and I was told that the application for the exhibit tendered had to be approved by his lordship, who is no longer here but comes to sit in this matter.

“It is this morning that they told me that the application has been approved. The exhibit is not something that I will just sit down, hear it and say I am ready to go on with it without reading it because what is worth doing [at all] is worth doing well.”

Meanwhile, counsels to both defendants, Olajide Ayodele, SAN and Mamman Osuman, SAN, raised no objections to the application.

Justice Bogoro, thereafter, adjourned for “continuation of hearing”.

EFCC Tenders Documents Against Ex-Niger Gov, Aliyu 

Former Governor of Niger State, Muazu Babangida Aliyu

 

A former Governor of Niger State, Mr Babangida Aliyu, is back at the Federal High Court in Minna, Niger State to defend himself against charges of money laundering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) reopened its case against the former governor on Thursday by presenting fresh documents before the court in a bid to establish the complicity of the defendant in the alleged offence.

The EFCC also presented a prosecution witness who testified that the former governor made withdrawals of N10 million in eighty places using the account of a private investment company.

But Aliyu’s lawyer, Olajide Ayodele, faulted all the documents and objected to their admissibility on the ground that they did not satisfy the provisions of Section 104 Subsection (1) (2) and (3) of the Evidence Act.

After listening to the arguments from the lawyers, the trial judge, Justice Yellin Bogoro held that some of the documents were inadmissible because they had no proper certification from appropriate authorities. Other documents were however admitted as exhibits.

The matter has been adjourned to April 10 the for the continuation of trial.

Alleged N2bn Fraud: EFCC Tenders Documents Against Ex-Niger Gov, Aliyu

 

The trial of a former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, on eight counts of money laundering to the tune of N2billion continued on Thursday.

At the resumed hearing of the case, the prosecution tendered documents before Justice Yalim Suleiman Bogoro of the Federal High Court, sitting in Minna, Niger State, to establish the complicity of the defendant in the alleged offence – a statement by the agency’s Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said.

According to the statement, a branch head of Zenith Bank situated at Paiko Road, Minna 1, Niger State, Nma Abubakar Mohammed, who testified as PW3, told the court that the defendant made withdrawals of 10million naira each in 80 places using the account of I.D Sabin Investment Limited.

Led in evidence by Ben Ikani, counsel to the EFCC, Mohammed, said he was invited by the agency sometime in June 2014 to clarify some transactions on the account of I.D Sabin Investment Limited, an account owned by Saidu Nma-Aba Idris.

The witness narrated the procedures required for opening an account in his branch saying:

“The customer will obtain account opening form. If it is a corporate account, the customer is required to bring all documents especially from the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. There must be two eligible referees, there must be board resolution authorizing the opening of the account.

“There must be means of identification. There must be public utility receipt. The signatories must provide their passport photographs. They must also give their mandate on how the account is to be operated and any other document required shall be involved”.

According to the witness, I.D Sabin Investment met all the requirements while opening the account.

When asked to tell the court about the inflows into to the account, Mohammed said, “Going through the statements of account, there were withdrawals of 10million naira each in eighty places and some other withdrawals”.

The prosecution sought to tender the account opening package in evidence, after it was shown to the witness and identified but, Nasko’s counsel, Mamma Mike Osuman, SAN, objected to the admissibility of the documents on the ground that they did not satisfy the provisions of Section 104 (1) (2) and (3) of the Evidence Act.

Osuman took time to fault each of the documents and urged the court to reject it in its entirety.

Aliyu’s counsel, Olajide Ayodele, SAN, also aligned himself with Osuman’s position.

In response, Ikani urged the court to discountenance the objections of Osuman describing it as “unfounded”.

After listening to the submissions of the counsel, Justice Bogoro held that the document from FIRS; the PHCN document dated February 28, 2013; the two-page National Identity Card and the documents from Corporate Affairs Commission (Certificate of Incorporation) were inadmissible.

He believed that the documents, being public documents needed proper certification from appropriate authorities.

However, the judge ruled that “the other documents from the Zenith bank including: Application To Opening a Corporate Account; Letter of Set Up, Signatory, Information Form, I.D Sabin Investment Limited’, addressed to the branch manager Zenith Bank PLC Minna, A Document Physical Visitation Report of Zenith Bank, Authority to Debit an Account dated March 2, 2013, Customer mandate, Corporate Account Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing Risk Assessment Form, Zenith Bank”, duly certified by the PW3 were admissible.

“I shall admit the documents each in evidence”, the judge said.

Thereafter, the prosecution sought to tender the Statement of account of I.D Sabin Investment Limited after it had been identified by the witness. Though its admissibility was objected to by Osuman, his objection was overruled and the documents were admitted as ‘Exhibits U and V’.

The court also admitted the cheque books used for the transactions as ‘Exhibits V1 – V18’.

The PW3 further told the court that the Niger State Ministry of Environment also had an account with his bank and that “some inflows came into the account, while some were transferred to I.D. Sabin Investment limited”.

The account opening document for Ministry of Environment, Niger state was tendered and admitted as ‘Exhibit S25’.

Similarly, a soft copy of the inflow of the account of Ministry of Environment was also tendered and admitted as ‘Exhibits AB1 and AB2’.

The matter was thereafter adjourned to April 10 – 11, 2018 for continuation of trial.

Court Fixes Oct 5 To Hear Application On Babangida Aliyu’s Case

The Federal High Court, Abuja, will on October 5, hear an application seeking the transfer of the case of former Niger Governor, Babangida Aliyu to the Federal High Court in Minna.

The Federal Government had charged Mr Aliyu alongside his former Chief Of Staff, Umar Nasko with conspiracy to launder over one billion Naira ecological funds belonging to Niger State.

At the resumed hearing the prosecuting counsel, Mr Ben Ikani told the court that the matter was for commencement of trial and that he had his first witness in court.

Counsel to Nasko, Mamman Osman, however, prayed the court to allow him move an application in which he was challenging the jurisdiction of the Abuja division of the court to hear the matter.

Osman requested for an adjournment to allow him bring another application seeking to transfer the matter.

Earlier, the trial judge, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba had made it clear to Mr Osman when he raised his application that the Federal High Court was one and that he had jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Dimgba advised Osman that instead of challenging his jurisdiction, he should rather apply for the matter to be transferred to Minna.

Subsequently, the judge adjourned the case to give all parties sufficient time to reflect on the issues and arrive at a consensus in order to avoid unnecessary delays in the matter.

Court Grants Ex-Niger Governor, Babangida Aliyu Bail

A former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, and his ex-chief of staff, Umar Nasko, have been granted bail by the Minna High Court.

Both men had been remanded in prison by the court on Tuesday last week after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission arraigned them on charges of corruption and fraud.

The court had adjourned till today, May 3, for judgment on their bail application.

At the resumed hearing, the presiding judge, Justice Aliyu Mayaki, granted their application for bail.

Aliyu and Nasko were arraigned on six counts of breach of trust by diverting to personal accounts funds belonging to the state government to the sum over N5bn.

In the first charge, Aliyu and Umar were accused of committing illegal act of criminal breach of trust in 2015 contrary to section 97 of criminal code.

They were accused in the second charge of withdrawing the sum of N540m from zenith bank account No. 1012424374 for personal use, contrary to section 111 of penal code and punishable under section 104 of the penal code was for the former governor only.

The former governor was accused in the third charge of dishonestly converting to personal use over N1.725bm belonging to Niger State Government to personal use from Zenith Bank contrary to section 311 of penal code and punishable under section 304.

In the fourth charge, both men were accused of dishonestly converting to personal use the proceeds from the sale of Niger State government’s shares in the power plant amounting to N1.9bn.

The fifth and sixth charge bordered on the use of ecological funds amounting to N800m and another N432m by both accused persons.

Court remands Ex-Niger Gov, Babangida Aliyu In Prison

A former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, and his Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, have been remanded in prison.

Aliyu and Nasko, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 election in the state, were remanded in Minna Medium Prison on Tuesday by the Minna High Court.

Both men were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on charges of corruption and fraud.

The court remanded both men in prison after it reserved ruling on their bail application till May 3, 2017, and in view of the lack of facilities by the EFCC to hold both men in Minna.

The anti-graft agency had informed the court of its lack of detention facilities in Minna and urged it to remand both men in prison after the court reserved its ruling.

Aliyu and Nasko were arraigned on six counts of breach of trust by diverting to personal accounts funds belonging to the state government to the sum over N5bn.

Babangida Aliyu and Nasko were ushered into the court room at about 8:40am by EFCC operatives led by the commission’s lead counsel, Gbolahon Latona and three other lawyers.

The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them by the presiding judge, Justice Aliyu Mayaki.

The court stood down for 30 minutes at the start of the case to enable counsel of the parties involved in the case compare notes on oral application made by EFCC to amend its original charges.

On resumption of proceedings, the counsel to Aliyu and Nasko, Ayodele  Oladeji and Mamman Osuman did not object to the amended charges.

In the first charge, Aliyu and Umar were accused of committing illegal act of criminal breach of trust in 2015 contrary to section 97 of criminal code.

They were accused in the second charge of withdrawing the sum of N540m from zenith bank account No. 1012424374 for personal use, contrary to section 111 of penal code and punishable under section 104 of the penal code was for the former governor only.

The former governor was accused in the third charge of dishonestly converting to personal use over N1.725bm belonging to Niger State Government to personal use from Zenith Bank contrary to section 311 of penal code and punishable under section 304.

In the fourth charge, both men were accused of dishonestly converting to personal use the proceeds from the sale of Niger State government’s shares in the power plant amounting to N1.9bn.

The fifth and sixth charge bordered on the use of ecological funds amounting to N800m and another N432m by both accused persons.

EFCC Grills Ex-Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu

Former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu

A former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, is currently being grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over alleged fraud.

The former governor who served between 2007 and 2015, honoured an invitation by the anti-graft agency on Tuesday but has remained with the commission since then.

Dr. Aliyu’s invitation may be connected to the call by the current administration in the state for an investigation of his administration which the government alleged was involved in some questionable transactions during his tenure.

The government had set up a committee to look at all major financial transactions carried out by the state and local governments from 2007 to 2015.

Governor Bello Asks Judiciary To Embrace Zero Tolerance For Corruption

Niger-governor bello on JudiciaryThe Governor of Niger State, Sani Bello, has emphasised the need for the judiciary to embrace the change philosophy and zero tolerance for corruption mantra endorsed by the present administration.

Governor Bello made the call on Wednesday in Minna, the capital of Niger State, during a dinner and launch of a book entitled “Triennium of Chief Judgeship: Policies, Milestones and Legacies of Honourable Justice Fati Lami Abubakar, CON” and written in honour of the eminent Jurist on her retirement as the Chief Judge of Niger State.

Governor Bello maintained that the “judiciary cannot afford to be in the back seat in this new partnership for good governance”.

“It is essential at this point to re-emphasise the dire need for our Judges and all accompaniments of the judiciary to embrace the change philosophy and the zero tolerance for corruption drive that this administration endorsed.

“As custodians of judicial system, you all have the most moral obligation to steer the state from a society bedevilled by the incessant injustice,” he stressed.

The Governor then urged officers in the temple of justice to strive to bridge the gap between accusations and corresponding prosecution.

He also counselled the judiciary to consciously do everything possible to continuously gain the confidence for members of the public.

Governor Bello commended the retiring Chief Judge for her achievements and described her as a peculiar person with high sense of passion for human development; one who has a story with good ending and has lived an exemplary life in service.

A former Chief Justice of the country, Hon Justice Alfa Belgore, who chaired the occasion, recalled the landmark achievements of Justice Abubakar both in the bar and bench.

He said: “She is a role model, a faithful wife, compassionate mother and an exemplary public servant”.

Justice Fai Lami Abubakar, who was so elated by the volume of encomium showered on her, attributed her achievements to God and to the implicit confidence people had in her.

Also at the occasion were a former military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, the husband of the honouree and a former military head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, former governor of Kaduna State, Mr Abbah Rimi, former Niger State Governor, Dr. Babangida Aliyu and Senator Zaynab Kure.

PDP’s Former Governors In Reconciliatory Meeting

pdpThe leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has started a reconciliation process with former governors of the party with a view to regaining power in 2019.

National Chairman of the party, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff, at a meeting with the former PDP governors said that the move is to foster unity among members.

Since its lost control of the centre in the general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been trying to rebuild its structures.

The party has embarked on series of reconciliatory meetings since its new chairman, Senator Ali Modu Sherif assumed office.

Some of those in attendance include Gbenga Daniel of Ogun State, Babangida Aliyu of Niger State, Ibrahim Shema of Kastina State, Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State, and Gabriel Suswam of Benue State.

Members of the party’s National Working Committee were also at the meeting.

 

Jonathan To Handover ‘Instruments Of Office’ On May 28 – Council Of State

President Jonathan and other members of the National Council of StateThe National Council of State on Tuesday said that President Goodluck Jonathan will handover ‘instruments of office’ to President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 28.

The National Council of State also assured that Nigeria will not be challenged again by insurgents as experienced ‎in the past three years as the Nigerian military has been so equipped to take charge of its territory.

Briefing State House correspondents after the council meeting, Governor of Niger State, Mr Babangida Aliyu and his Benue State counterpart, Mr Gabriel Suswan, said the initial poor responses to the security challenges had been as a result of ill equipping the military.

Following the meeting of the Nigeria Police Council, which was convened immediately after the National Council of State meeting, also on Tuesday, Solomon Arase was confirmed as the substantive Inspector-General of Police.Jonathan at the National Council of State meeting

The new IG, who spoke with State House correspondents on his new status, said that his main task would be the welfare upgrade of officers of the Nigerian Police Force.

He said motivation is a key to increase in productivity adding that it is a reason he has made it a topmost priority.

The Police Inspector-General also gave an assurance that he would bring crime rate to a lowest minimum through strategies and inputs expected of his men at this time.

Eid el-Fitri: Northern Governors Say Nigeria’s Continued Existence Not Negotiable

Gov Babangida-Aliyu-480x300The Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has urged Nigerians to work towards the continuous existence of Nigeria adding that this is not negotiable.

The Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, in an Eid-el-Fitri message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Israel Ebije, prayed that the celebration would usher the country into a peaceful era where all Nigerians are safe.

He urged Nigerians not to be worried about the security challenges in the country, intimating that it was an ugly phase and like all artificial trends, would soon be a thing of the past. He added that the prevailing security challenges in Nigeria calls for patriotic citizenship.

“Nigeria is a great country and we must ensure that it continues on the path of greatness by making sure that we all believe in ourselves again. I urge every well-meaning Nigerian to be security vigilant. We must put an end to the malaise, we must say no to violence. Violence is never part of our culture.

“We have seen the direction security challenges has plunged Nigeria to. It is therefore important that we join hands towards removing the very few evil minded Nigerians who are responsible for terrorism. We must sustain the corporate existence of Nigeria.”

The Chairman of the NSGF, while calling on Nigerians to use the festive period to reflect on Nigeria’s missed opportunities and project into a better future, prayed Allah grants those who have lost their lives on account of terrorism Aljana Firdaus.

He also urged Nigerians to continue praying for the return of the abducted Chibok girls.

Ideology Of Boko Haram Is Not Islamic – Gov Aliyu

The Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, has said in a conference that the Boko Haram ideology is not associated with that of the Muslim and that the sect is not fighting the cause of a true Muslim.

Briefing newsmen on Tuesday, at the opening of a two day security conference being organised by office of the National Security Adviser, Dr Aliyu described the activities of the sect which has claimed thousands of lives in the North-East­ as un-Islamic and does not in any way reflect the ideology and believe of a true Muslims.

The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum described the activities of the sect as “senseless”, calling on all well-meaning Nigerians, irrespective of their religion to join with the government to win the war against insurgency in the country.

“Boko Haram is un-Islamic. Islam is about moderation and not extremism. Jihad is about how to make peace and life better, not how to kill people.’’

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwumi Adesina, also lamented how much pastoralism had become a security threat in the country.

“Pastoralism has become a worrisome practice characterised by incessant clashes of unimaginable proportions usually resulting in huge losses of lives and property”, he said.

He noted that this was not the usual pastoralists that Nigeria used to know, who for decades have lived in harmony with their communities, as criminality has increased, especially with the menace of cattle rustling.

He said, “The issue is no longer an agriculture problem. It is a national security problem and we need an integrated set of solutions that includes agriculture and security.”

The Minister also provided recommendations on how to curb the menace; “One fundamental change that must be made, which is structural is that we must end the practice of moving animals. Rather, we should be moving beef, not animals. This requires that urgent priority be placed on West and Central Africa developing its Halal-meat industry,’’ Adesina said.

However, the Speaker of House of Representative, Aminu Tambuwal, suggested the creation of a platform for pastoralists and farmers to constantly meet to discuss areas of conflicts before they degenerate into uncontrollable crisis.

While calling on the media to support the Government in achieving this by not portraying the herdsmen as the perpetrators of the conflicts, he noted that both parties have been victims, adding that sometimes the violent clashes are caused by cattle rustlers and mercenaries.