The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has taken steps to challenge a no-case ruling granted to former Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu, and ex-chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party in the state, Tanko Beji. The ruling was given by Justice Abdullahi Mukailu of the Niger State High Court on December 7, 2023.
In a statement released by EFCC spokesperson Dele Oyewale on Thursday in Abuja, it was revealed that the commission filed a seven-count charge against Beji, Aliyu, and Aliyu’s former Commissioner for Environment and Chief of Staff, Umar Mohammed Nasko. The charges included conspiracy, abetment, and criminal breach of trust.
After calling 11 witnesses and presenting over 400 exhibits, the EFCC closed its case. However, the defendants made a no-case submission, and on December 7, 2023, Justice Mukailu granted their prayers. The ruling directed Nasko to open his defense.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the ruling, the EFCC filed a Notice of Appeal on January 10, 2024, believing that a prima facie case had been established against Aliyu and Beji.
In an unexpected turn of events on January 15, 2024, during Nasko’s trial continuation, the Attorney General of Niger State appeared in court without prior notice. The Attorney General sought to take over the case from the EFCC and, later the same day, entered a nolle prosequi, leading to Nasko’s discharge.
“For the EFCC, the road has not closed. The Commission is proceeding with its appeal against Aliyu and Beji at the Court of Appeal with all its evidence against them.
“The Commission will continue to discharge its duties in line with its mandate of tackling all forms of economic and financial crimes without fear or favour,” the statement added.