The embattled former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, will on January 25 know his fate in the criminal charge of corruption brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before the Sokoto State High Court.
The former governor was charged alongside 16 others for alleged diversion and theft of public funds to the tune of N15 billion.
Upon arraignment on December 16, 2009, Mr. Bafarawa and his co-accused pleaded not guilty to 47-count charge.
Those charged alongside Mr. Bafarawa are: Nasiru Bafarawa, Isa Achida, Aishatu Binji, Salihu Bakwai, Salihu Gunmi, Adamu Gurori, Adamu Gurori, Habibu Modaci, and Sambo Danchadi. Others are Abdullahi Bida, Mike Umeh, Umaru Kwambo, Shehu Koko, Ubale Yahaya, Maigari Dingyadi, and Tukur Alkali.
However, in the course of the trial and to the surprise of prosecution, the present governor of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal, decided to pardon five of the 16 accused persons charged with Mr. Bafarawa. Those pardoned are: Tukur Alkali, Bello Isah, Isah Sadiq, Habibu Modachi and Muhammadu Dingyadi.
Being dissatisfied with the September 25 ruling of the trial court, the EFCC approached the Court of Appeal, Sokoto division, to quash the ruling of the lower court.
On November 16, 2017, the commission closed its case against the remaining accused persons. Subsequently, the accused persons filed a no-case submission through their counsels: Lateef Fagbemi for the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th and 7th accused persons and Mohammed Adeleke for the 3rd and 4th accused persons.
In his argument, Mr. Fagbemi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, submitted that the prosecution failed to provide the ingredients of the offences his clients were charged with. He added that for offence to be referred to as an offence, that offence must be sighted by law and in the instant case, according to him, the prosecution failed to provide the content of the law that contradicted the offence his clients were charged with. He further argued that such law must be tendered before the court since it has only been gazetted.
Mr. Adeleke, counsel to the 3rd and 4th accused persons, urged the court to adopt the written address as his argument and discharge and acquit his clients. He called the attention of the court to page 13 and 14 in paragraph 4.25 and 4.26 of the prosecution written address where they conceded that no prima-facie case has been established against his client.
After listening to the argument of counsel, Justice Abbas adjourned the matter to January 25, 2018 for ruling on no case submission.