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EFCC brings ex-gov Audu to court in handcuffs

Posted by By ISMAIL OMIPIDAN, Abuja on 2006/12/04 | Views: 847 |

EFCC brings ex-gov Audu to court in handcuffs


The atmosphere in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, was charged Friday following the arraignment of the former governor, Prince Abubakar Audu, before a High court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was docked on 80-count charge.

The atmosphere in Lokoja, Kogi State capital, was charged Friday following the arraignment of the former governor, Prince Abubakar Audu, before a High court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He was docked on 80-count charge.

Audu was brought to the court premises in handcuffs, around 10.08am, in a Peugeot Standard mini-bus marked Plateau A.G. 162-QAP and docked before Justice Michael Medupin.

Audu’s appearance in court drew sympathy from his political associates, friends and a segment of the public who trooped to the court to catch a glimpse of their former leader.

Major roads leading to the court premises - through police headquarters, NUJ Press Centre and Crowther Road - were cordoned off by anti-riot policemen to check vehicular movements.

Some youth groups that gathered outside the court premises to protest the former governor’s arrest were dispersed with teargas. A few others were reportedly arrested and detained by the police.

The police had a hectic time controlling the crowd, as missiles from the crowd, also flew in their direction.
The tension led to the closure of offices of the Teaching Service Commission and Crowther Memorial College.
Meanwhile, inside the courtroom, Prince Audu though, initially ruffled however, regained confidence and responded to all the 80-count read to him by the prosecutor.

The flamboyant ex-governor, however, caused a melodrama when count 38 was read to him, which alleged that he collected 700million and converted same to his private use.
When the trial judge asked him ‘are you guilty to the charge or not?’ he answered, “I am perfectly not guilty but I have something to say,” a statement that drew sustained laughter.

But his lead counsel, Chief Wole Olanipekun, who led eight other lawyers, including the ex-governor’s daughter, quickly corrected whatever wrong impression the statement may have conveyed.
According to Olanipekun, his client was merely trying to say he was not guilty and nothing more.
But the judge insisted that Audu wanted to say something and, therefore, requested him to speak to the court.

Audu responded thus: “Your Lordship, they say I collected 700million and diverted it to my private pocket when, as a matter of fact, throughout my tenure as governor, I did not collect up to 700million as statutory allocation.”

After all 80 charges were read to Audu, Olanipekun made an oral application for his bail, saying that some of the allegations were political charges, all of which, he argued, were bailable. He assured that as a senior citizen of Nigeria, who had also previously been governor, Audu would not jump bail.
Counsel to EFCC did not object to the ex-governor being granted bail. However, he argued that Audu’s attorneys should not make ordinary oral application for bail.

The trial judge after hearing their arguments adjourned the case to Wednesday, December 6, for ruling on whether or not to grant the accused person bail. He also ordered that Audu be remanded in the EFCC custody in Abuja, but ordered the operatives not to handcuff the former governor.

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.