Boko Haram: Court keeps Ndume waiting

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Senator Ali Ndume
Senator Ali Ndume: To be convicted?

By Wandoo Sombo

The Federal High Court, Abuja, has fixed July 4, to rule on a no-case-submission filed by Sen. Ali Ndume (APC-Borno) ,who is standing trial for allegedly sponsoring terrorism.

The Federal Government arraigned Ndume in 2011 and re-arraigned him in 2013 on a four-count charge of allegedly sponsoring the Boko Haram sect.

The offence according to the Federal Government, contravened Sections 3, 4 and 7 of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.

Ndume , however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

When the matter was called on Tuesday for counsel to adopt their addresses, Mr Ricky Tarfa (SAN), counsel to Ndume , told Justice Gabriel Kolawole that the Federal Government had not established a prima facie case against his client.

He also stated that the government was unable to link Ndume to the said crime.

Tarfa maintained that the prosecution had failed to proof beyond reasonable doubt, the charges brought against him since Nov. 30,2011.

He admitted that he had contact with the Boko Haram sect but that the contact was established when he was appointed into the Presidential Committee on Security Matters to negotiate for peace with the terrorist group.

He said that the charges against him were unjust and unfair since he gave the former Vice President, Namadi Sambo and the then Director-General of the Department of State Service (DSS) , all the information he got from the sect.

He also told the court that the charge of failure to disclose information on the workings of Boko Haram could not be sustained against him.

“Clearly, from the totality of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, the ingredients of the charges have not been proved as required by law.

“The analysis of the mobile phones seized from the defendant and subjected to forensic examination by the prosecution did not reveal any offence committed,” Tarfa said.

He asked the court to strike out the charges against Ndume on the grounds that no prima facie case had been established against him to warrant him defending himself.

On her part, the prosecuting counsel, Mrs Geraldine Okafor , urged the court to compel Ndume to open his defence on the grounds that government’s witnesses had effectively linked him to the crime.

Okafor said that the charges against the senator had to do with the failure to disclose material information to security agents on Boko Haram and rendering support to the terrorist group.

She said that Ndume, in his own statement tendered and admitted in court, confirmed that he had enormous information on Boko Haram, but refused to disclose the information to the government.

According to her, credible evidences adduced by the prosecution witnesses have been corroborated by the defendant himself in the three statements he made to security agents.

“His admission that he was a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Matters also corroborates the evidence of the prosecution that he had volumes of information on the terrorist group which he refused to give to the government.

“The volume of information found on him was revealing and warranted his being charged to court.

“The prosecution is not fishing for information but in law, the defendant has to offer information being a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Matters.

“Let the point be made here that witnesses of the government have by one way or the other linked the charge against the defendant to him and this court , as an impartial court ,should order the defendant to open his defence.

“It is even in the interest of the defendant and justice that this case be heard on its merit, instead of upholding the no-case submission.”

The judge fixed July 4 for ruling on the matter.


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