A Federal High Court in Abuja has granted bail to the Senator representing Borno South in the National Assembly, Sen. Aliyu Ndume, who is facing a four-count charge bordering on terrorism, brought against him by the Federal Government.
Justice Gabriel Kolawole, granted Mr. Ndume bail in the sum of N25 million this afternoon. He is also to produce two sureties in like sum as part of the bail conditions. The judge has however ordered that he should remain in custody until he meets the bail conditions.
The judge also fixed trial in the case for January 2, 7 and 8.
Moving the motion for bail, Mr. Ndume’s lawyer, Mr. Rickey Tarfa, SAN, cited the provisions of Section 35 (4) (5) of the 1999 Constitution, saying that an accused remained innocent until his gilt had been proved.
He said it was illegal to continue detaining the accused after December 5, 2011, when initial charges against him were withdrawn at the Abuja Chief Magistrate Court.
He urged the court to exercise its discretion and grant Ndume bail since the offence for which he was accused was not punishable by death and therefore, was a bailable offence.
He added that the accused’s health condition requires that he be granted bail to enable him receive effective medication.
The defence counsel further submitted that the accused would not jump bail.
Tarfa based his submission that Ndume would not jump bail on the grounds that he is a Senator, was a two-time member of the House of Representatives as well as a family man with children.
He also told the court that Ndume would not interfere with evidence if granted bail.
He therefore asked the court to grant the accused bail in the most liberal terms, and on self recognition.
Opposing the bail application, the prosecution counsel, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Fatunde, said the prosecution had established a prima-facie case against Ndume.
She told the court that Ndume’s health concerns were not raised with the SSS, and told the court to dismiss it as an afterthought.
She said, “Whatever medication they brought for him, he was allowed to take it. There was no special request from any medical doctor concerning the state of his health. Making heavy weather about his health is an afterthought and I most humbly ask my lord to discountenance it.”
She urged the court to refuse bail and instead grant accelerated hearing of the case, and told the court to “take cognizance of the threat that the Boko Haram sect poses to national security.”
Fatunde said Ndume might use his influence as a Senator to interfere with evidence, and also threaten the lives of witnesses.
She further expressed fears that Ndume might abscond if granted bail especially as the charge for which he was accused carried as high as 20 years imprisonment.