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Court acquits  Aminu Wali of N950m campaign fund charges

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Federal High Court in Kano has on Friday discharged and acquitted former minister of foreign affairs Aminu Wali accused with receiving N950 campaign fund from PDP during 2015 presidential election.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Mr Wali and Mansur Ahmed with three count charges bordering around 950 million Naira campaign fund received from People Democratic Party PDP in 2015, an act that contravened Section 1 of money laundering prohibition Act 2011.

Delivering the judgement, the trial judge Lewis Allagoa said the prosecution has failed to probe their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Allagoa averred that the prosecution though established that the money  950 million was received beyond the threshold allowed by law,It failed to establish the money was received outside a financial institution an ingredient of probing the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The court said that while the defendants have admitted to have collected the said money from a financial institution, EFCC couldn’t not prove the money laundering charge against them.

He therefore discharged and acquitted the defendants.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to EFCC Cosmos Ugwu described the judgment as “a well considered judgment.”

Mr Ugwu said, “we will take it as delivered, we will go back and study it and see what to do hereafter.

“I do not think the EFCC has gotten it wrongly because we charge base on the provision of the law. It doesn’t necessarily means that party was malicious in it prosecution, it only means that the element of the offense that ought to have been proved were not proved.

“The central issue was that whether there was transaction through a financial institution or not. Our argument was that it was not because you cannot go to Fidelity Bank and say give me the account from which this money was paid and you will get it.

“But, it is a new area of law so we would continue to work towards developing it so that subsequently when this kind of matter comes up we would have authority, we would have authorities to quickly bring to the aide of the court to say this is what the supreme has said.

“I am sure if the appeal court or supreme Court had interpreted the phrase ‘through a financial institution’ we wouldn’t have had the difficulties we had in trying to prove that it was not through a financial institution,” Mr Ugu said.

Commenting on the judgement, counsel to Messrs Wali and Ahmed, Sam Olagunorisa commended the judge for exhibiting erudition of law in his final verdict.

According to him “His lordship showed his erudition. He went through the law, and at the end of the day, it was very clear that, the entire transaction in this charge went through financial institution, which is one of the major cardinal ingredients before you can find anybody guilty for an offence of money laundering.

” Both the prosecution and defence agreed that the money went through Fidelity Bank. Fidelity Bank is the  financial institution within the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria. To that extent, one of the cardinal ingredients for which the prosecution must probe was found not existing. That account for the reason why the defendants were discharged and acquitted.

Reacting to the judgement Mr Wali expressed gratitude to God for vindicating him despite three years of litigation.

“God is there. God will never allow injustice to persist. I thanked Him and I thanked all for the support and the believed had in me that this thing never really happened, is all political,” Mr Wali said.

Messrs Wali and Ahmed were arraigned alongside former governor of Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau by EFCC before the court on May 24, 2018 on six count charges that the trio received the money on March 25, 2015 from PDP without transacting through a financial institution contrary to section 1(a) of Money Laundering Act 2011, punishable under section 16 (2b) of same act.

Mr Shekarau was later discharged and acquitted by the same court after he filed and won a case of no submission at the court of appeal leaving Wali and Ahmed with a three count charges before the Federal High court.

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BUK begins online lectures next semester 

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BUK

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Bayero University Kano said all Post Graduate programs in the university especially at Ph. D level will be holding lectures online, beginning from second semester.

Kano Focus reports this was contained in a weekly bulletin released by the University on Friday.

According to the bulletin, the vice chancellor of the University Sagir Adamu Abbas revealed this on Monday when he went round to monitor the commencement of lectures and assess the level of compliance with the Covid-19 protocols by both staff and students.

Mr Adamu a professor of education said the Centre for Information Technology of the University is making frantic efforts to kick start the virtual learning.

He added that the University has secured a license for zoom meeting, as the management is putting adequate arrangement with a view to starting the online teaching beginning from second semester of the current academic session.

He also revealed that the license was the largest in the country amongst the tertiary institutions with the capacity of holding twenty parallel sessions simultaneously with about 500 participants.

The Vice Chancellor, acknowledged the quantum of challenges facing tertiary institutions especially in developing countries on how to conduct their academic activities in conformity with the protocols of Covid-19.

Particularly given the fact that the system was not designed for an online mode of conducting lectures.

 “However, as it is now, and for us to survive, it becomes imperative to devise a means to adapt to the new normal caused by the global pandemic of Covid-19,” He said.

He added that apart from the Ph.D degree programs, others that would be conducting their lectures via online mode are the General Studies Program (GSP) at undergraduate levels.

He said this was specifically introduced as part of the response by the government on the need for educational institutions to rise up to the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic without making the students miss their lectures.

The Vice Chancellor noted that the virtual mode of lecture would be gradual.

He said it was hoped that in the very near future all courses and programmes would be taught virtually in which case all the needed facilities would be provided.

Professor Abbas charged students to observe all the protocols of curtailing the spread of the virus through wearing of face masks, social distancing, regular washing of hands and the application of hand sanitizers at all the times.

He said the University management would not hesitate to sanction any staff or student who refuse to obey the protocols.

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Blasphemy: Court orders retrial of Aminu Sharif sentenced to death

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Yahaya Aminu Sharif
Yahaya Sharif Aminu

 

 

Nasiru Yusuf

The Kano State High Court (Appeal Division) has) on Thursday quashed the conviction of one Yahaya Aminu Shariff, who was earlier in August last year sentenced to death by the Upper Sharia Court Filin Hockey presided over by Aliyu Muhammad Kani.

The court presided over by Justice Nura Sagir Umar, the Chief Judge of Kano State, ordered in its judgment read by Justice Nasiru Saminu, that Mr Shariff be tried afresh by another Upper Sharia Court.

He stated, “On Yahaya Aminu Sharif, the court set aside the trial for some procedural irregularities.

“But the case has been remitted back to the sharia court for a retrial”.

Justice Saminu also said the defendant must be provided with legal representation during the retrial.

He said it is mandatory where anyone is standing trial for a capital offence that may result in death penalty, such a defendant is entitled to a legal representation.

Justice Saminu relied on section 269 (3) and (4) of the Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law, ACJL, which says any person standing trial in capital offence shall be entitled to legal representation, which must under any circumstances be provided even if it entails the court appointing a lawyer for the defendant, what is known as ‘Dock Brief’.

It may be recalled that on August 10, 2020, the Upper Sharia Court Hausawa Filin Hockey convicted and sentenced Mr. Sharif under section 382B of the Kano State Sharia Penal Code (2000) for insulting Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in a voice note he shared to a WhatsApp group called Gidan Umma Amina.

Similarly, the court also discharged and acquitted another blasphemer, Umar Faruk Bashir who was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

The court set aside the sentence passed on Mr Bashir and declared the entire Upper Sharia Court’s judgment a nullity as the said Umar Faruk is a minor whose admission of guilt is inadmissible in law.

It could be recalled that the duo of Yahaya Sharrif Aminu and Umar Farouq Bashir were said to have sometimes early last year committed blasphemy against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and making derogatory statement against Almighty Allah respectively.

The defendant through one Kola Alapinni appealed against the death sentence and 10 years imprisonment at the Kano State High Court (Appeal Division).

Reacting to the Thursday’s judgment, Mr Alapinni described the judgment as bitter and sweet.

He said, “Today, we have a bitter-sweet judgments as Umar Farouq has been set free completely because he was a minor that was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

“On the issue of Yahaya Aminu Sharrif which was a death sentence and that really shocked the whole of the country and international community. It also made us a laughing stock before the international community where someone will say something which was regarded as being disrespectful in a religion and he will be sentenced to death.

“He was sentenced to death without legal representation. It is unacceptable. And the court found in our favour that there were procedural irregularities. We were hoping that the court will set him free but unfortunately that didn’t happen and the matter has now been remitted back to the Shari’a court and it will be heard by another judge. And will be with proper guidance and legal direction. We will defend this robustly even up to the Supreme Court.”

On the constitutionality of the Shari’a penal code, he said, “we will go back and study the judgment and decide if we want to go to the court of appeal and Supreme Court thereafter. We want to know if the Shari’a penal code is in conflict with the Section 10 of the Nigerian Constitution which says the Federal or state government must not be seen to be promoting any religion. That is what Kano State is doing.”

On his part, the State Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice, Musa A. Lawal said on one hand the judgment was a victory for the people of Kano especially that the court reaffirmed that the Shari’a penal code law has come to stay in the state.

“Constitutionally, the courts are created so that people can go there to get justice. The court today, reaffirmed that the Shari’a penal code law in Kano state is here to stay because in the appeal, the appellant clearly claimed that the law is contrary to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the court says no that the Shari’a penal code is a law that is here to stay in the state. So of course, this is a victory for the people of Kano state on one side.

“On the second part, if you look at the second case which was a minor, what the court says is that he is a minor and so cannot be tried as he has not attained the age or incurring liability. That is the reason why he was discharged and acquitted not because the Shari’a penal code law was unconstitutional or for any other reason.

“To buttress that fact, the second case was ordered for retrial under the said law. And the only reason given there was based on the constitutional provision especially when you are charging someone with a capital offence you need to get him a lawyer. There was no legal representation on his part. So if you look at the two cases it is a victory for the people of Kano state and victory for the Shari’a penal code,” Mr Lawan stated.

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KAROTA intercepts 172 parcels of Indian hemp

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KAROTA

Nasiru Yusuf
Kano Road and Traffic Agency, KAROTA has intercepted a motor vehicle conveying 172 parcels of l Indian hemp worth N30 Million into the state.

A statement issued on Thursday by the spokesperson of the agency Nabulisi Kofar Na’isa said the operation which took place around 3:30 am on Wednesday led to the arrest of the diver along Gwarzo road while other suspects believed to be the owners of the consignment managed to escape.

He however said the Agency has handed over the exhibits to the state office of National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA for further investigation.

The statement quoted the Managing Director of the agency Baffa Babba Dan’agundi calling on people to assist the agency with credible information that would lead to the arrest of any person or group of persons engage in any form of crime in the state especially on the state roads.

Kano was rated among the states with highest record of drug abuse in Nigeria. This among many other factors led to the state government to constitute a task force on drug abuse comprising personnel of NDLEA, Police, Civil Defence, KAROTA personnel and Hisbah (Moral police).

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