The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned a former
Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu and his Commissioner for
Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest Resources, Umar Mohammed Nasko,
before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja on an
eight-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N1.46
One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu (whilst
being the Executive Governor of Niger State) and Umar Mohammed Nasko
(whilst being the Commissioner for Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest
Resources in Niger State) on or about 23rd July, 2014 within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, did indirectly take control of the
aggregate sum of N478,495,600 (Four Hundred and Seventy Eighty Million,
Four Hundred and Ninety Five Thousand, Six Hundred Naira only) out of the
sum of N487,495,600 (Four Hundred and Eighty Seven Million, Four Hundred
and Ninety Five Thousand, Six Hundred Naira only) paid by the Niger State
Ministry of Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest Resources to MJ Eco
Projects Limited for environmental/ecological consultancy project awarded
to the company in respect of Zone B of Niger State which money you
reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an offense
unlawful act to wit: corruption and thereby committed an offencs contrary
to section 15(2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as
amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges.
In view of the plea, the prosecution counsel, Prince Ben Ikani, asked for
a date for trial to commence, and urged the court to remand the defendants
in prison custody.
Counsel to Aliyu, Olajide Ayodele, SAN, however, urged the court to admit
his client to bail.
“There is a summons, which seeks for the application to be heard and if
the court is ready the application will be heard as the prosecution has
been served with it,” Ayodele said.
However, Ikani told the court that he was yet to be served with the motion
for Aliyu’s bail but had received that of Nasko.
“We are interested in a speedy trial,” Ikani said.
Earlier in the proceedings, Mamman Osman, SAN, brought before the court a
preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court. His
argument was however, countered by Ikani, who quoting Section 396 of the
Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, noted that “the application
is premature as the business of the day is for the arraignment”.
Justice Dimgba, thereafter, granted bail to the defendants in the sum of
N200million with two sureties each, who must be a public servant or a
professional not less than the rank of a Director.
“The sureties must own houses in Abuja Metropolis excluding the satellite
towns. The defendants are also to deposit their international passports
with the registrar of the court and must not travel except with the
permission of the court,” the trial judge ruled.
The Court Registrar and the EFCC are to verify and ensure that the bail
conditions are met within 48 hours and if not they are to be remanded in
The matter has been adjourned to July 6 and 7, 2017 for commencement of
It would be recalled that the EFCC had on April 25, 2017 arraigned the two
defendants before the Niger State High Court on a six-count charge
bordering on misappropriation of public funds, and “diversion of proceeds
of the sale of 16 per cent shares of the sale of Niger State in the North
South Power Company Limited”.