Alleged N2bn Fraud: Again, Defence Counsel’s Illness Forces Adjournment of Ex- Niger Gov, Babangida Aliyu’s Trial Till Jan 20
By TONY ADAMS
Justice Mikail Aliyu of the Niger State High Court has on Wednesday, December 16, 2020 adjourned for definite hearing the trial of former Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, Tanko Beji and Umar Muhammed Nasko.
Aliyu, Umar Nasko, his former Chief of Staff and Tanko Beji, are facing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crisis Commission, EFCC, on amended seven-count charge of money laundering and criminal breach of trust to the tune of over N2billion.
At today’s hearing, Daniel Umako who is standing in for Mamman Mike Usman, counsel for the third defendant, told the court that the defense had filed and served all parties application for adjournment on health grounds to enable counsel to the third defendant who is ill, to personally conduct the trial.
“Since 9th day of October, 2020, our principal has been out of the country undergoing various medical examinations and treatments at the Royal Stoke University Hospital. London and University Hospital of North Midlands, London. His last appointment with the Royal Stoke University Hospital, London being the 14th day of January, 2021. We are unable to exhibit the medical reports of our principal to this application for reason of confidentiality. However, we shall make them available to His Lordship and counsel appearing in this case to read and return.
“In the light of the above, our principal has instructed us to write and must humbly request the indulgence of his Lordship to adjourn the case to 20 and 21 January, 2021 or any other later date at his instance subject to the convenience of the court”, he said
Prosecution counsel George Adebola opposed the application, arguing that the move was a ploy to delay proceedings. “The bottom line is that they are asking for another date, and we got this letter through WhatsApp when we were already in Niger State yesterday. The application is already before the court, we urge the court to safeguard its own integrity. I am opposing the adjournment, it is a plot to delay this trial”, he said.
After listening to both counsel, Justice Aliyu adjourned the matter till January 20 and 21, 2021, for definite hearing.
It would be recalled that the matter was similarly adjourned on November 23, 2020 based on Usman’s illness. The trial could not proceed that day as it was noted that the representative of Nasko’s counsel, Usman had on Thursday, November 19, 2020 filed an application for adjournment based on Usman’s ill health.