Court discharges ex-Niger gov, Babangida Aliyu, 2 others after EFCC withdraw from case

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After three years of legal battle, a Minna High Court in Niger State on Monday discharged ex-governor, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, and two others who have been standing trial for alleged corruption since 2017.

The two others are the Chief of Staff, Government House, during the administration of Dr Aliyu, Alhaji Umar Nasko, and the state People’s Democratic Party chairman, Alhaji Tanko Beji.

The trio were dragged before the court for alleged diversion of N2 billion ecological fund.

The case had lingered for over three years and had been handled by three separate trial judges at different times.

Last month, counsels to the plaintiffs, Niger State government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) announced their withdrawal from the case before the court.

However, the defense counsels insisted that the prosecution should equally declare it had similarly withdrawn its case to determine the fate of the case before the court.

At three different sittings of the court, the prosecution counsels did not appear before the court neither did they send any representation to pursue the case.

The three lead defence counsels, Mr Ayodele O. Ayodeji SAN, Alhaji Ibrahim Ishaku SAN, and Mr Mike Mamman SAN, had urged the court to discharge and acquit their clients because the prosecution had failed to appear before the court on three previous occasions.

At the court sitting on Monday, the trial Judge, Justice Mukha’ila Abdullahi said the court had diligently followed the arguments of the defense counsels and had arrived at the conclusion that the court could not act or serve as a prosecutor in the case.

In his ruling after nearly three hours recess, Justice Abdullahi said the accused persons had been discharged.

In discharging the three accused persons, the trial judge noted that the complainants in the case which had dragged on since 2017, had not shown diligence in their prosecuting hence the decision of the court to discharge them.

Meanwhile, family members and political aides of the former governor have hailed the court verdict.

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