Former Ministry of Transport chieftain and a highly revered ex Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu was on Tuesday remanded in prison custody, by a Minna High Court, over an alleged N4.568 billion fraud and abuse of office.
The ‘Chief Servant’ of Minna, Aliyu was docked alongside his former Chief of Staff , Umar Nasko, on a 6-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, punishable under Section 97 and 312 of the Penal Code..
The duo were accused of conspiring and dishonestly converting to personal use funds amounting to N4.568bn, belonging to Niger State Government.
The funds according to the EFCC, were for ecological projects, as well as proceeds realised from the sale of 16 per cent shares of the state in the North-South Power Company.
Ayodele Oladeji (SAN) and Mamman Osuman (SAN), 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. Stressing 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 court 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 the accused persons were usually remanded in prison custody once the court takes `cognisance of the case.’
The judge, Justice Aliyu Mayaki, ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the matter till May 3 for ruling on the bail application.
Going by the Court’s decision, the two-time governor, who served between 2007 and 2015, and who had been in the custody of the EFCC since April 4 may have spent exactly one month behind the bars when he comes to court on May 3rd 2017.