The Niger State High Court has ordered that the immediate past governor of the state, Babangida Aliyu, as well as the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2015 election, Umar Nasko, be remanded in prison custody until May 4.
Justice Mohammed Mayaki gave the ruling on Tuesday after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arraigned both men on on a six-count charge bordering on fraud.
The chief servant, as Aliyu was called during his days as governor, was invited by the EFCC on April 4 over allegations that he diverted over N2 billion from ecological funds allocated to the state.
Aliyu was also alleged to have sold the state’s stake in North-South Power, the holding company for Kainji Dam, and used the money to fund the unsuccessful governorship bid of his protégé, Nasko.
Having pleaded not guilty to the charges, counsels to the first and second defendants, Ayodele Oladeji and Mamman Osuman, applied for the bail of their clients, assuring the court that they will not jump bail.
The defence counsel, however, prayed the trial judge to remand the defendants in EFCC custody, if he was going to fix a date for hearing of their bail application.
But EFCC prosecutor, Gbolahan Latona, opposed the bail application, arguing that it would jeopardise investigations.
He also opposed remanding the defendants in EFCC custody, saying that accused persons were usually remanded in prison custody once the case is brought to court.
Justice Mayaki subsequently ordered that the defendants be remanded in prison custody pending the hearing of their bail application.