John Adams, Minna
After almost three years legal battle, a federal High Court sitting in Minna, the Niger state capital has dismissed the corruption case brought against former Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu before the court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for lack of diligent prosecution.
Justice Aliyu Bappa wasted no time in dismissing the case when it came up for further hearing on Friday for failure of the prosecution to appear in court after several adjustments.
Justice Bappa while striking out the case, observed that the prosecution had not shown up to continue its case since “I was assigned this case.
“This is a sign that the prosecution is not serious about the prosecution of this case, I therefore strike it out” Bappa declared.
It would be recalled that when the case came up on May 21 this year the judge had expressed dissatisfaction with the manner the prosecution had handled it and vowed to strike it out by the next adjournment if there was no seriousness on the part of the prosecution.
In keeping to his threat, Justice Bappa immediately strike out the case when he was told that the prosecution again failed to appear and excuse was given for his absence.
The judge had during May 21 hearing told the prosecutors that “From all indication you people (EFCC) are not ready for the Prosecution of this matter. I inherited this case, I started it denovo. It has Suffered series of adjournment as a result of some laxity from the prosecuting counsel. I would not allow this any longer.
“Let me say this, if you are not prepared for this case to continue, in the next adjournment date I will be left with no option than to strikeout the case” the judge had said furiously at the last sitting.
When the case came up again the lead prosecution counsel was absent with his representative saying he was in court only to represent him because of the engagement that took him out of office.
Counsel to Ex Governor Aliyu Mike Mamman reminded the court of its earlier stand on the lack of appearance of prosecution and asked that the case be struck out.
Consequently Justice Bappa dismissed the case for lack of diligent prosecution.
The EFCC had dragged former governor Aliyu before the court for alleged diversion of nearly N1bn ecological fund.