Court acquits Nigerian senator of terrorism charges
A Federal High Court of Abuja division yesterday discharged former Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume, of the four-count charge of terrorism brought against him by the Federal Government in November 2011.
Ndume who represents Borno South senatorial district, was discharged by Justice Gabriel Kolawole since no prima facie case was established against him.Kolawole, while ruling on the no case submission filed by Ndume, held that the prosecution failed to link the defendant with the alleged crime of hoarding information on terrorism activities and sponsoring the Boko Haram sect.
At the close of prosecution case, Ndume had filed a no case submission through his counsel, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), on the ground that there was no need to open his defense since the prosecution witnesses were unable to prove that he committed the offense for which he was charged.
Adopting Ndume’s position, Kolawole struck out the four-count charges, having faulted the prosecution for failing to give evidence in the charges brought against the defendant.He pointed out specifically that the defendant admitted having contact with the Boko Haram sect as a result of his appointment as a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North East.
He also admitted volunteering information to the Director of the State Security Service (SSS) and former Vice President, Namadi Sambo in the National Assembly on Boko Haram operations but the prosecution did not consider it necessary to invite the people mentioned to give evidence in the trial.
He maintained that the failure of the prosecution to invite those persons to give evidence in court was fatal to the case and as such, hindered the prosecution from discharging the burden of proof.
Kolawole added that from the evidence given by the witnesses, the prosecution failed to give ingredients of the charges that would have warranted the court to enter his defence in indicting Ndume.
He explained that the evidence of the Information Technology (IT) expert, Peter Olayiwola did not help the prosecution “because the content of a Boko Haram spokesperson, Aliyu Umar Konduga’s telephone, used to communicate with the defendant only revealed text messages on greetings when analysed.”He stated that none of the witnesses called by the prosecution gave valuable evidence upon which the defendant could have been linked with any crime as charged.
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