John Adams, Minna
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Niger State, Alhaji Umar Nasko, has raised the alarm over plans by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to use the judiciary to invert his looming victory on the March 2, 2019, governorship.
The plans, he alleged, were the decision of the Minna High court presided over by Yellim Bogoroto to bring back, the date for the continuation of his trial from the earlier adjourned date of March 6 and 7 to Thursday, February 7.
The PDP governorship candidate in a statement in Minna on Monday signed by his Director Communication campaign organisation, Mallam Yahaya Mohammed, described as a clear case of judicial rascality, judicial somersault, abuse of process, the decision of the court to utter the earlier March 7 and 6 dates.
The PDP candidate who is a former Commissioner for Environment is standing trial alongside his former boss, former Governor Babangida Aliyu on an 8-count charge of criminal conspiracy and money laundering.
The offences are contrary to Section 18(a) of the money laundering Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of same Act.
The two are accused of laundering ecological funds of over N1.940bn released by the Federal government to the state in 2014.
However, at the resumed hearing on December 10, 2018, where the EFCC was to call its remaining witnesses, the counsel to the EFCC failed to show up and no reason was given.
The absence of EFCC counsel forced the presiding judge, justice Yellim Bogoroto to shift the case to December 11, 2019, yet the EFCC failed to show up.
This development infuriated the counsel to the first defendant (Aliyu) Olajide Ayodele (SAN) who wondered why the prosecution failed to show up without prior notice.
In her ruling, the Justice Yellim Bogoro adjourned the matter till the March 6 and 7, 2019.
But the PDP flag bearer alleged that from nowhere, he received a hearing notice inviting him and his co-defendant for the continuation of hearing on February 7, 2019, as against the adjourned date of March 6 and 7.
According to him, “this is a clear case of judicial rascality, judicial somersault, abuse of process
“From the blues, a hearing notice appeared inviting parties for the continuation of hearing on the February 7 as against the March 6 as adjourned,” he said.
Nasko said he believed that this was a clear reaction to the massive reception given to him by the people at the ongoing campaign which has sent a quit notice to the APC.
“Having been unable to make any in-roads and unable to stop Umar Nasko from the contest which is the main reason for the suit in the first place, the APC-led government has been mounting pressure on the judiciary to frustrate the campaigns of the gubernatorial candidate.
“They sponsored EFCC to file a suit but they are in a hurry and cannot wait for the court proceedings to end at a logical conclusion.
“They sent mulls into the PDP to contest the governorship to block the Umar Nasko chances of emerging as the party candidate, Nasko defeated them landslide including a former ambassador, Alhaji Ahmed Ibeto.”
Nasko, therefore, vowed that “head or tail, hearing or not, the campaign will continue and no Jupiter on planet earth can stand against Allah’s ordained victory for the PDP in Niger State.”
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