Vanguard (Lagos)

8 February 2013

Nigeria: Boko Haram - Ndume Asks Court to Quash Evidence

Abuja — Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume who is standing trial over his alleged convivial relationship with the Boko Haram Islamic sect, has approached the Abuja Division of the Appeal Court, praying it to quash the proof of evidence that was tendered against him by the Federal Government.

Ndume, who is representing Borno South Senatorial District was charged to court by the Federal Government on allegation that he was the person that hitherto furnished the sect with classified information that aided their terrorist operations in the country.

He is answering to a four-count criminal charge before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Specifically, Senator Ndume is asking the appellate court to go ahead and quash fresh sets of incriminating evidence that linked him to the terrorist organisation.

It will be recalled that the trial court which was presided by Justice Gabriel Kolawole, had on December 14, admitted an evidence that showed that Ndume actually made 73 contacts with the sect.

The evidence was tendered before the court by a forensic expert with the Department of State Security, DSS, Mr Aliyu Usman, who testified against the lawmaker as the third prosecution witness.

The witness, had in his examination-in-chief, maintained that the contacts took place between October 3 and November 3, 2011, adding that most of the communication was between Ndume and the self confessed spokesman of the Boko Haram sect, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga.

Besides, the high court had on October 24, admitted into evidence, two phones comprising of Nokia E-7 and Nokia 27100, which the Department of State Security, confiscated from both Senator Ndume and Konduga, after they were arrested.

Trial Justice Kolawole marked the two phones as exhibits P5 and P5 (a).

At the resumed sitting on the case yesterday, Ndume through his lawyer, A.O. Jolawo, told the court that his client has already filed an appeal to challenge the decision of the trial judge.

Consequently, he urged trial justice Kolawole to hands-off the trial pending the determination of the suit before the appeal court.

He told the court that he was also dissatisfied with a ruling that was delivered on December 11, 2012, which admitted in evidence DVD's containing call data records, as well as, findings of investigations carried out by a Special Investigation Panel (SIP) of the SSS.

However, the prosecuting counsel, Thompson Olatigbe who confirmed that he was served with the notice of appeal, urged the court to proceed with cross examining of other witnesses, contending that the motion for stay was not yet ripe for hearing.

While adjourning the matter till February 19 to hear the application for stay, Justice Kolawole ordered the prosecution to within five days, file his reply to the application, even as he directed the defence to within three days upon receiving the service, file his reply on points of law.

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