Ex-governor Aliu, Nasko, seek transfer of case to Minna
A Federal High Court in Abuja has reserved October 5, for hearing on the application of former Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu and his former Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, challenging the jurisdiction of their case.
The duo are facing trial for alleged conspiracy and diversion of over N1billion Ecological Fund received from the Federal Government in 2014 on behalf of the state, and diversion of same to D-Sabrin International Limited through the state Commissioner of the Environment.
The matter was adjourned till yesterday for commencement of trial after the defendants were arraigned and granted bail.When the case was mentioned, the prosecution counsel, Ben Ikani (SAN), reminded Justice Nnamdi Dimgba that the case was adjourned till yesterday for commencement of trial and that the witness was in court.
The second defence counsel, Mamman Mike Osuman (SAN), noted that though the defence was also ready for trial so as to clear his name of the charges brought against him.There was, however, an application challenging the territorial jurisdiction of the court sitting in Abuja.
The counsel, who was supported in the statutory objection by the counsel to the first defendant, Olajide Ayodele (SAN), held that since the offence was allegedly committed in Niger State, the trial should also be held in the state and not Abuja.
Having put all the parties on notice, he urged the judge to rule on the objection before continuation of trial.The prosecution counsel, Ikani, stated that what bordered him was that he was not served the motion as claimed by the defense counsel.
But Dimgba admonished the second defence counsel on the best way to structure his motion.He noted that since the defence was not objecting to the subject matter of jurisdiction, as the Federal High Court was the same all over the country, the defendants would have brought an application seeking transfer of the matter to the forum he preferred.
He said hearing the case in Minna may expose the defendants to danger and adjourned hearing on the application till October 5. Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Ibadan yesterday granted the bail pleas of former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Jumoke Akinjide and two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olanrewaju Otiti and Ayo Adeseun.
They are standing trial for allegedly collecting N650m and diverting it to the funding of the 2015 general elections in Oyo State.The court premised Akinjide’s cooperative attitude during investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as the basis for granting her bail on self-recognition, but attached stringent terms to the two other accused persons.
Justice Joyce Abdulmalik granted the other two suspects, Otiti and Adeseun bail in the sum of N100m and one surety each in the like sum, among other terms.Adeseun, however, pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charges.
Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) held brief for Akinjide but her new counsel, Richard Ogunwale (SAN) appeared in court.The case was then adjourned to September 12, 2017.
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