Court remands Aliyu, ex-Niger gov, in prison

A high court in Minna, Niger state capital, has ordered the remand of Babaginda Aliyu, former governor of the state, in Minna medium prisons.

Last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detained Aliyu after inviting him for a chat.

He was later arraigned on a 6-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, alongside Umar Nasko, governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 election.

Nasko was Aliyu’s chief of staff.

Both men were accused of conspiring and dishonestly converting to personal use funds amounting to N4.568bn, belonging to the Niger state government.

According to the EFCC, the funds were meant for ecological projects, as well as proceeds realised from the sale of 16 percent shares of the state in the North-South Power Company.

Ayodele Oladeji and Mamman Osuman, who appeared as lead counsel for the 1st and 2nd defendants respectively, applied for the bail of their clients as they pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them.

They argued that the defendants were always available when invited by the EFCC, adding there was no evidence they would jump bail.

The defence counsel, however, prayed the court to remand the defendants in EFCC custody, if the was going to fix a date for hearing of the bail application.

The EFCC prosecutor, Gbolahan Latona, opposed the bail application, arguing that it would jeopardise investigations.

The EFCC prosecutor also opposed remanding the defendants in EFCC custody, saying that accused persons were usually remanded in prison custody once the court takes ‘cognisance of the case’.

Aliyu Mayaki, the judge, ordered their remand and fixed May 3 for ruling on their bail application.

The two-time governor served between 2007 and 2015

(THE CABLE)

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