The trial of former Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu, and two other persons for alleged fraud and misappropriation of funds resumed at the State High Court, Minna, on Monday.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned Aliyu and two of his aides – Tanko Beji and Umar Nasco – for alleged diversion of N2billion Ecological Fund during his tenure as governor of Niger State.
Two prosecution witnesses including one Isaac Gado had last week told Justice Mikail Aliyu how the ex-governor withdrew N800 million with 80 cheques in 2014.
At Monday’s proceeding, the matter took an interesting twist when Aliyu’s counsel vehemently objected to the questioning of Gado by counsel to Nasko.
The witness had testified that the withdrawn cash was to be taken to Nasko, who is the third defendant in the case.
But Mamman Mike Osman, counsel to the third defendant, during the cross-examination of the witness, sought to know whether the ex-governor was the ultimate recipient of the money delivered to his client, to which the witness responded, “yes.”
Dissatisfied with his colleague’s line of questioning, Aliyu’s counsel, Musa Sulaiman, objected, arguing that the questioning amounted to “opinion evidence” and speculative.
But Osman expressed surprise at the objection.
He insisted that the purpose of cross-examination was to extract relevant facts on the matter.
He said: “The prosecution is not objecting, it is unusual for anyone but the prosecution to raise an objection to my mode of cross-examination.”
“It must not necessarily be confined to the fact elicited by the witness. I never sought his opinion but asked whether the first defendant was the ultimate recipient of the tranches he delivered.”
The judge overruled the objection of the ex-governor’s counsel.
He said: “The only person that can raise an objection is the prosecution. You have every opportunity to cross-examine the PW4 which you did.”
Justice Mikail adjourned the matter till November 3, 4, and 5 for ruling on the admissibility of some documents presented by the witness.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
SPECIAL REPORT: Lack of legal provisions, cultural sentiments fueling marital r*pe in Nigeria
By Arinze Chijioke In the early days of Sandra Izuckukwu’s marriage in 2019, her husband, Sunday Izuchukwu, did everything she...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (IV): Surviving in a dangerous media environment
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019 and 2020. For six...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (III): Precious Owolabi was killed covering a protest
This investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019-2020. For six months, Nigerian...
INVESTIGATION… LIVES ON THE LINE (II): Alex Ogbu was telling a story but became the story
This four-part series investigation is on the unresolved killing of three Nigerian journalists while on assignments between 2019 and 2020....
SPECIAL REPORT… TELECOMS BLACKOUT: Nigeria’s latest tactic against banditry grounds businesses, forcing residents beyond borders
The fight against notorious bandits raining terror and kidnapping students in Northwest Nigeria took a new dimension in September as...