How Ex-Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu and two others diverted N1.7bn state funds - Witness tells court

A prosecution witness has narrated how over N1.7 billion state funds were diverted from the coffers of the Niger State government, during the tenure a former governor of the state, Babangida Aliyu.

Aliyu is being prosecuted by the EFCC, along with his then Chief of Staff, Umar Nasko, and the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Niger State Chapter, Barrister Tanko Beji, on a seven-count amended charge of fraud to the tune of N2 billion.

They are standing trial before Justice Mikailu Abdullahi of a Niger State High Court, sitting in Minna, and had pleaded “not guilty” to the amended charges on February 14, 2019 when they were re-arraigned.

The witness, Mohammed Bala, an operative of the EFCC, while being led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Jibrin Okutepa, SAN, narrated how on June 22, 2016 the EFCC received a petition from the Secretary of the Niger State Government, SSG, Umar Danyanya, who accused Namisu Jankaro, then Chief Accountant of the state, Ahmed Garba and Ibrahim Abashai, both cashiers of making withdrawals of N28,136,363,941 from the state coffers.

Bala told the court that upon the receipt of the petition, he was asked to open a casefile, which he did and the petitioner was later invited to shed more light on the matter. He said: “A committee was set up to look into the transactions of the administration of Babangida Aliyu.

“The SSG was invited and he obliged and made statements, after which we wrote to Zenith Bank, Unity Bank and Guarantee Trust Bank and they furnished the Commission with investigation activities of the said account.

“We invited the Permanent Secretary, Mohammed Almustapha Rijau. He came and we showed him the statements of accounts. He told us that before any money is moved, usually, there must be a memo generated from the office of the former governor (Aliyu)"
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