The trial of the former governor of Niger, Dr Babangida Aliyu and his former Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, was on Monday stalled due to an application challenging the competence of the Minna High Court to try Nasko, the second accused person.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Aliyu and Nasko are standing trial over alleged N4.568bn fraud and abuse office.
At the resumed hearing of the case, Mamman Osuman (SAN), counsel to Nasko, said he had filed preliminary objection, challenging the commencement of the charges against his client.
“The procedure by which the initial charge was brought to the court was wrong.
“Not only was the charge defective, they compounded it by filing a second amended charge which is inappropriate,’’he noted.
Osuman prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him prepare an appropriate response to EFCC’s counter affidavit to his preliminary objection.
“We were only served with EFCC’s counter affidavit this morning and in accordance with the law, we can file a response on point of law.
“That is why I need time to go back to my office and come up with an appropriate response,”he said
NAN recalls that the EFCC through its counsel, Chile Okoroma, had filed an amended charge to include Niger PDP Chairman, Tanko Beji, as defendant in the case.
Beji, who was present in court, had been in EFCC’s detention since Thursday, prompting Osuman to urge the court to grant him interim bail.
The judge, Aliyu Mayaki, however, noted that the court would determine the second defendant’s application before considering any other issue.
“The court will determine the application before proceeding further in this case.
“The reason is that once the process by which a proceeding commence is alleged to be incompetent, it then means that any order made by the court will also be null and void if the objection is upheld,’’he said.
Mayaki added that he could not grant Beji bail as he had not been formally arraigned before him, adding that the EFCC have the power to grant him administrative bail.
He adjourned the matter until June16 for continuation of hearing.(NAN)