A Minna High Court on Tuesday ordered the remand of former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, in prison custody.
Mr. Aliyu is standing trial for alleged N4.568 billion fraud and abuse of office.
Mr. Aliyu was docked alongside his former Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, on a six-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust, punishable under Section 97 and 312 of the Penal Code.
Mr. Nasko was the Niger State governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in 2015.
The defendants were accused of conspiring and dishonestly converting to personal use funds amounting to N4.568 billion, belonging to the Niger State Government.
According to the EFCC, the funds are for ecological projects, as well as proceeds realised from the sale of 16 per cent shares of the state in the North-South Power Company.
Ayodele Oladeji and Mamman Osuman who appeared as lead counsel for the 1st and 2nd defendants respectively, applied for the bail of their clients as they pleaded not guilty to the charges levelled against them.
They argued that the defendants were always available when invited by the EFCC, adding there was no evidence they would jump bail.
The defence counsel, however, prayed the court to remand the defendants in EFCC custody, if the was going to fix a date for hearing of the bail application.
The EFCC prosecutor, Gbolahan Latona, opposed the bail application, arguing that it would jeopardise investigations.
Mr. Latona also opposed remanding the defendants in EFCC custody, saying that accused persons were usually remanded in prison custody once the court takes `cognisance of the case.’
The judge, Aliyu Mayaki, ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the matter till May 3 for ruling on the bail application.
Mr. Aliyu, who was Niger governor between 2007 and 2015, had been in the custody of the EFCC since April 4.
Apart from being a former chairman of the Northern States Governors Forum, Mr. Aliyu was considered one of the most influential governors during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
He was one of the PDP governors who initially opposed Mr. Jonathan’s candidacy in the build-up to the 2015 elections saying the former president signed a pact with them that he would only use one term in office.
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