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One of Nigeria’s anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has revealed how Babangida Aliyu, former Niger State Governor, and two others, Tanko Beji and Umar Nasko, allegedly diverted N2 billion (Two Billion Naira) ecological funds for election campaigns.
EFCC disclosed that this was revealed by a witness who testified against the defendants before Justice Mikail Aliyu of the Niger State High Court on Thursday.
The agency said, “The trial of a former Niger State Governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu and two others, continued before May 12, 2022, with the eleventh prosecution Witness, PW11, Bala Muhammed, concluding his evidence-in-chief.
“The trio are facing prosecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, for criminal breach of trust and diversion of ecological funds to the tune of Two Billion Naira.”
In October 2020, the Federal High Court in Minna, Niger State, relisted the N2 billion alleged fraud case against a former governor of the state, Babangida Aliyu, and his former Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, for retrial.
This effectively set the stage for a fresh trial of the accused persons who left office in 2015.
Justice A.B. Aliyu, who gave the order on Tuesday, also reinstated the bail granted to the defendants, according to a statement by the EFCC.
The EFCC is prosecuting Messrs Aliyu and Nasko (first and second defendants respectively) and Tanko Beji, the third defendant, for alleged money laundering.
They had faced three counts of breach of trust and money laundering to the tune of N2 billion, but the case was struck out on June 19 this year by the court.
Mr Aliyu was initially docked and remanded at the EFCC custody in 2017 on six counts of fraud. He was later granted bail in the sum of N150 million with two sureties in like sum.
Following the abrupt termination of the case, prosecution counsel, Faruk Abdalla, on October 13, filed a motion requesting the court to set its previous ruling of June 19 and an order for the relisting of the charge.
Mr Abdalla supported the application with a 21-paragraph affidavit deposed to by Samuel Chime, that: “We rely on all the paragraphs; we also file a written address in support, we adopt the written address as our oral submission and we pray the court to grant our prayers in the motion papers.”
Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu is a senior civil servant who was elected governor of Niger State, Nigeria in April 2007. He was reelected on April 26, 2011.