terror charge Nigerian senator loses bid to quash
terror charge - Nigerian senator loses bid. High Court siting in Abuja on Friday threw out an application brought by embattled senator Aliyu Ndume seeking to quash the charge slammed on him by the State Security Service, SSS accusing him of having links with the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic fundamental sect.
Ndume had challenged his trial on the ground that there was no sufficient prima facie evidence in the proof of evidence linking him to the alleged offences and insisted that the charge is devoid of all the essential ingredients to suggest the commission of any offence.
He also claimed that he never had any relationship with the sect or any of it’s members before his appointment as a member of the Presidential Task force on public disturbances in the North East and posited that for any relationship with the sect to be considered illegal, that it must first be proscribed before a relationship with any member of the sect can be said to become an offence.
Ndume also told the court that his membership in the Federal Government panel provided him a platform, in the course of carrying out the duties of the panel, to have met with some members of the sect.
It is recalled that former spokesman of the sect, Kunduga, who had been sentenced to a 3 year jail term, implicated the senator by disclosing that the senator was providing the sect with both logistics and financial supports in their terrorist activities.
The embattled senator also claimed that his right to a fair hearing had been breached by the charge which was signed by Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke who is also a witness in the matter.
However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, the court declined to quash the charges brought against the senator.
According to the Judge, “That an accused person has a probable defence to a legal charge is not a ground or basis to quash the charge. Pleading not guilty to a charge as the accused had done in the instant case is closely related to the constitutional presumption of innocent pending trial”.
The court also held that so far as an allegation of having links with the sect had been brought against the senator, that how the link came about is also not a sufficient ground to demand that the charge be quashed.
Furthermore, Justice Kolawole noted that the appearance of the name of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice in two counts of the charge does not in any way infringe on the senator’s right to fair hearing as the AGF is not by any law required to be neutral as a court in a criminal matter.
“Signing of a charge is not in conflict with his constitutional duties as the AGF and Minister of Justice and can never be a ground that can warrant the quashing of a charge”.
The court ordered the senator to face his trial and adjourned to July 3rd and 10th.
The court however berated the SSS for preventing the senator from traveling out of the country last month after the court had made an order granting him leave to travel out for religious purposes.
The embattled senator was turned back at the Abuja airport by operatives of the SSS despite the fact that he had a copy of the court’s order on him and showed same to the operatives.
The court insisted that no country can make any headway under such circumstance where an order of a competent court, legally granted, is disregarded with impunity.
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