JOHN ADAMS MINNA
A Federal High Court sitting in Minna, the Niger capital on Thursday revoked the bail granted former Niger State governor, Dr Babangida Aliyu, and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the March 2019 governorship election, Alhaji Umar Mohammed Nasko.
Justice Aminu Aliyu who revoked the bail granted the duo also issued a bench warrant for their arrest.
Former Governor Aliyu is standing trial alongside the PDP candidate, Nasko who was a former Commissioner for Environment on an 8-count charge of criminal conspiracy and money laundering.
The offences are contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
The two were accused of laundering Ecological funds of over N1.940bn released by the Federal government to the state in 2014.
Justice Aliyu’s action followed the non- appearance of both ex-governor Aliyu and Umar Nasko at the resumed sitting of the court on Thursday, May 23, instead of the earlier adjourned date of Monday May 27.
Justice Yellim Bogoro who was the presiding judge before he was assigned to the electoral tribunal, had granted the duo bail in the case instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and at the last sitting reportedly adjourned the case to May 27.
However following the assignment of Justice Bogoro to one of the election tribunal, Justice Aliyu was assigned to handle the case.
The People’s Democratic Party in the state had, however, expressed disappointment over the action of the new trial judge, who the party said disregard the earlier adjourned date of May 27.
State chairman of the party, Alhaji Tanko Beji, while reacting to the action of Justice Aliyu, pointed out that the new trial judge was strange to the defendants because they were never informed that the case has been transferred to another judge.
The defendants were also not communicated to on the adjustment on date for further hearing, and therefore the accused persons could be present in court.
Tanko Beji said the defendants were not served any hearing notice for Thursday 23rd May, adding that “what we know is that the case is supposed to come up on the Monday 27 of this month.
“This is why both the defendants and their counsel and even the prosecution were not in court.”
Hearing in the case will continues on Monday.