Photo: Murtala Nyako
A Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday ordered a former governor of Adamawa State, Vice Admiral Murtala Nyako (rtd), to enter his defence in an alleged 37-count charge of fraud when he was governor amounting to N29 billion filed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC).
Delivering ruling in the “no-case” claim submission brought by the defendants, the trial judge, Justice Okon Abang, held that the no-case-submission filed by the defendants lacked merit and dismissed it accordingly.
The court ruled that Nyako, and other defendants including his son, Senator Abdul-Aziz Nyako, Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd, Pagado Fortunes Ltd, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd and Crust Energy Ltd, all have prima facie cases to answer based on the evidence submitted by the prosecution.
The judge said he had painstakingly perused the evidence given by the 21 witnesses called by the prosecution, as well as the oral and written submissions of the defendants and concluded that the prosecution had established a prima facie case against all the defendants.
“I have calmly, carefully and painstakingly scrutinised the evidence adduced by the 21 witnesses-in-chief and under cross-examination including the oral and written arguments of all the defendants.
“I have again carefully and painstakingly considered the evidence of the 21 witnesses and the massive documentary evidence and the extra judicial statements of the defendants.
“I have carefully considered the legal arguments of all the counsel for the defendants, their written and oral arguments and the argument of the prosecution in this ruling.
“It is my humble but firm view that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants and they are required to enter their defence immediately,” Justice Abang said.
Periscope International recalls that the EFCC had first arraigned the defendants on July 7, 2015 on a 37-count charge bordering on fraud, criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office and money laundering, among others.
While the EFCC closed its case on Nov. 3, 2019, the defendants declined to open their defence, and instead, filed a no-case submission challenging the facts adduced by all the prosecution witnesses.
According to Nyako, who is also a former Nigerian Chief of Naval Staff, and co-defendants, the prosecution did not provide a prima facie case against them based on the adduced facts and evidence provided by the witnesses brought by the prosecution.
The judge adjourned the case to Oct. 4, 5, 7 and 8 for the defendants to enter their defense accordingly.