By Tobi Soniyi
Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume standing trial over his alleged link with the Boko Haram sect yesterday asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to quash the four-count charge preferred against him by the Federal Government on the grounds that it has failed to establish anything linking him with the group.
The senator who represents Borno South Senatorial District told the court that the proof of evidence filed by the prosecution did not in any way link him with the alleged criminal charges.
He said the charge was devoid of the essential ingredients to suggest the commission of the offences for which he is standing trial.
In an application filed on his behalf of by his counsel, Ricky Tarfa (SAN), Ndume also asked the court to discharge him of the said charges.
He said the court had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the charges and that the entire action was an abuse of court process.
While faulting the manner of prosecution, he said as at the time he was arraigned before the court, there was a similar case pending before another court with similar charges.
He further submitted that the role played by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, who is the Chief Law officer, by signing the charges against him makes the entire action an abuse of court process.
Tarfa further told the court that the charge against the accused person centered around his alleged relationship with the spokesperson of the Boko Haram sect, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (alias Usman AI- Zawahiri), whom he said always communicated with the Vice President, Namadi Sambo.
The embattled lawmaker who said the first telephone exchange between him and the sect was on October 4, 2011, insisted that the reason the sect approached him was as a result of his being a member of the Presidential Committee that was inaugurated on August 2, 2011, to address the security challenges in the North Eastern part of the nation.
He said prior to his appointment as a member of the committee, he had no contact or relationship with the spokesperson or any other member of the sect, saying the prosecution had placed nothing to form the basis for him to stand trial.
The prosecuting counsel, Mrs. Olufumilayo Fatunde, who is a Deputy Director at the Federal Ministry of Justice, in a counter affidavit argued that there was sufficient link between the accused persons and the offences for which he was charged before the court.
Fatunde further argued that the AGF was not a Judge, but a prosecutor, saying that he brought the case before the Judge because he believed that the law had been violated and that by signing the charge he had performed his official and constitutional duty.
On jurisdiction, she said there was no condition precedent which the prosecution was required to comply with before filing charges.
She said the prosecution properly brought the charge and that the charge was competent.
Ndume is standing trial for allegedly hoarding information on planned terror attacks and providing logistics to the convicted spokesman of the Boko Haram sect.
He was also accused of providing telephone numbers of certain public officers, including the AGF, Mohammed Bello Adoke (SAN), on or about October 4, to Konduga for the purpose of communicating terrorist messages to the said persons.
He is also alleged to have been in possession of Konduga’s mobile phone number but failed to disclose it to a law officer as soon as reasonably practicable, knowing that it would be of material assistance in arresting Konduga, contrary to Section 7(1) (b) of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.
Having listened to the submissions of the counsel in the matter, the trial Judge, Justice Gabriel Kolawole adjourned till June 15, to rule on the application.
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