Search Site: OnlineNigeria

Close






Atiku‘s media aide sent to prison

Posted by By Tobi Soniyi and Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja on 2006/10/11 | Views: 515 |

Atiku‘s media aide sent to prison


The Federal Government on Tuesday arraigned the Media Consultant to Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Mallam Garba Shehu, on a three-count charge of obtaining classified materials without authorisation from the government.

The Federal Government on Tuesday arraigned the Media Consultant to Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Mallam Garba Shehu, on a three-count charge of obtaining classified materials without authorisation from the government.

Although Shehu, who arrived the court premises in his own red Honda car, pleaded not guilty to the charges, Justice Binta Nyako sent him to Kuje prison pending when a written application for his bail would be filed.

Nyako, while refusing an oral application for his release on bail made by Shehu‘s counsel, Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), said in her court all bail applications must be brought by way of a motion on notice.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Hadi Saleh Barkum, who is the assistant chief legal officer in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, then urged the court to give a date to enable the government to prove its case.

After the suspect took his plea, Akintola had tried to convince the court that his client was entitled to bail.

He told the court that the prosecuting counsel had not deemed it necessary to give him a copy of the charge sheet but he added that it would not stop him from moving his bail application orally.

Akintola said, ”The court should consider the nature of the charge sheet which has to do with the production of classified materials and also the status of the man in the dock, who is the media consultant to the number two citizen of this country.

”The court should exercise its discretion in favour of the accused person in the face of the various rulings given by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court which have both said that in cases of this nature, the suspect is entitled to bail as a matter of cause.”

But the judge retorted, ”I quite agree with all you have said, and you have said that it is at the discretion of the court to grant bail. But in my court, all bail applications are brought by way of motions on notice (applications) and this is not for discussion.”

Akintola would not cave in easily as he pressed the oral application for bail further.

He said, ”My Lord, I want to draw the court‘s attention to the fact that the suspect is already enjoying police bail as he drove from his house to the court premises.”

Again, the judge cut in saying, ”Well that is police business while this is court business. I would, however, give you a short date within the week to enable you to come and argue the bail application.”

Nyako adjourned the matter till November 2 for the hearing of the suit while adjourning the bail application to Thursday .

Meanwhile, the Turaki Vanguard on Tuesday raised the alarm over a plot to bar Abubakar from attending the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

The group raised the alarm while briefing journalists after the inauguration of its National Secretariat in Abuja.

The ceremony, performed by a former Minister of Special Duties, Chief Yomi Edu, who represented the Director-General of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, marked the official kick-off of the vice-president’s presidential campaign under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.

According to an address from the Vanguard‘s National Coordinator, Alhaji Nasir Galla, read by the General-Secretary, Mr. Lanre Fayemi, the decision to drag Abubakar before the Code of Conduct Bureau was part of the plot to bar him from the FEC meeting.

However, the Vanguard vowed that the plot would not materialise because it was unconstitutional.









The charge sheet brought against Garba Shehu reads;

“Count one. That you, Garba Shehu, 46 years old, Nigeria of Flat 5, Block SA 12, NNPC Estate Area 11, Garki Abuja, between January 2001 and September 2006, in Abuja and other places in Nigeria within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, did obtain classified matter which you are not authorised on behalf of the Federal Government to obtain and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) (b) of the Official Secrets Act, CAP 335, LFN 1990 and punishable under section 7 of the said Official Secrets Act;

“Count two: That you, Garba Shehu, reproduced classified matter which you were not authorised on behalf of the Federal Government to reproduce and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1(1) (b) of the Official Secrets Act, CAP 335, LFN 1990 and punishable under section 7(1) of the said Official Secrets Act; and

“Count Three: That the accused person did retain classified matter without the authorisation and on behalf of the Federal Government to retain and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 1 (1)(b) of the Official Secrets Act 335, LFN 1990 and punishable under section 7 of the said Official Secrets Act.






”May we at this juncture alert Nigerians that it has been brought to our notice of the threat and scheming to stop Atiku Abubakar from the FEC meetings contrary to the provisions of the constitution. To us such a story is meant for unborn Nigerians and cannot be feasible in our time. The idea of treating Atiku Abubakar as if he has nobody in Nigeria must be stopped forthwith as we are all stakeholders in the project Nigeria and therefore not inferior to any group or section in this country.

”In this regard let us advise that those opportune to be at the helm of affairs shall not therefore use their privileges to insult or ignite a fight they cannot complete. We think that enough is enough”

The Vanguard further condemned the actions of Culture and Tourism Minister, Mr. Fani-Kayode, who reportedly questioned the right of the Vice-President to sit at the FEC meetings.

It also condemned the Federal Government‘s decision to ”charge a sitting Vice-President to the Code of Conduct Bureau over the recommendations of an illegally set-up committee”

Despite the recent three-months suspension imposed on the Vice-President by the National Executive Committee of the PDP, the Vanguard declared that Abubakar remains a bona-fide presidential candidate of the party.

By the implication of the suspension, Abubakar will not be eligible to contest for PDP‘s ticket at the party‘s presidential primaries, which comes up in December, thereby ruling out his chances of becoming a presidential candidate for the ruling party.

But the Vanguard claimed that the suspension was unconstitutional, having been voided by a court ruling, which prevented the PDP from suspending Abubakar.

Fayemi however admitted that the PDP is a party that continually flouts the rule of law.

Responding to questions raised over the Vice-Presidents eligibility to contest for president in 2007 under the platform of the PDP, Fayemi said, ”PDP always courts illegality, it is a party that does not believe in the rule of law.

”There was a court ruling that prevented the PDP from suspending Atiku Abubakar and the Governor of Adamawa State, but they still went ahead to suspend him. This means that the suspension does not hold water; there is nothing serious about the suspension. Atiku Abubakar remains a full member of the PDP, and by the grace of God, he will get the nomination ticket of the PDP”

Pressed to provide a clue on Abubakar‘s alternative plans if the PDP goes ahead to enforce the suspension, the Vanguard‘s Media Coordinator, Chief Eze C Eze, said that about 20 political parties are wooing the Vice-President to run on their platform.

He explained that the Vice-President, as a politician, would know what to do.

”When we get to December, and the court could not reverse the suspension, then we as politicians will know what to do. But for now, we are still in PDP, and whatever we are doing, we are doing in PDP. Atiku Abubakar has friends in all the political parties, and so many of them are writing him to join their party. Over 20 parties are interested in the vice-President, but rest assured that Abubakar will contest next year”

The group disclosed that it had over 20million members, and more than 56 affiliated associations in Nigeria, as well as overseas units.

The first phase of the Vice-President‘s 2007 presidential campaign, tagged ”Operation install Atiku Abubakar 2007”, is to be concluded by December, before he embarks on a nationwide tour early next year.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :



Add Comment

* Required information
1000
Captcha Image

Comments (1)

Gravatar
New
Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.