By Alex Enumah in Abuja
A former majority leader in the Senate, Senator Ali Ndume, on Tuesday told a Federal High Court in Abuja, that he has no case to answer in the alleged sponsorship of terrorism brought against him by the federal government.
Ndume, a senator from the Borno South Constituency, is standing trial on a four-count charge bordering on allegations of supporting the activities of Boko Haram terrorist group. The federal government had in 2011 arraigned him for allegedly supporting the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.
Ndume, in his no-case submission before Justice Gabriel kolawole, stated that the federal government has not in any way established a prima facie case against him or linked him with the said crime.
In the no-case submission argued by his counsel, Ricky Tarfa (SAN), the senator maintained that the charges brought against him since November 30, 2011, has not been proven beyond reasonable doubt as required by law at the end of the prosecution case.
The senator admitted that he had contact with the dreaded Boko Haram sect and that the contact came into being when he was appointed into the Presidential Committee on Security Matters to negotiate for peace with the terrorist group.
Ndume maintained that the charges against him were unjust and unfair because he passed the report of his contact with the terrorists to the then Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, and the then Director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS).
He further told the court that the charge of failure to disclose information on the workings of Boko Haram could not be sustained against him because the prosecution did not lead any evidence to that effect.
“Clearly, from the totality of the evidence adduced by the prosecution, there is no ingredients of the charges proved as required by law.
“The analysis of the mobile phones seized from the defendant and subjected to forensic examination by the prosecution did not reveal any offence committed,” the counsel submitted.
He therefore asked the court to strike out the charge against Ndume on the grounds that no prima facie case has been established against him to warrant his going to defend himself.
However, the prosecution counsel, Grace Okafor, urged the court to compel Ndume to open his defence in the charges against him on the account that the government witnesses have effectively linked him with the crime.
Okafor said that the charge against the senator has to do with the failure to disclose material information to security agents on Boko Haram and rendering support to the terrorist group, adding that Ndume in his own statement tendered and admitted in court confirmed that he has enormous information on Boko Haram which he refused to disclose to government.
The prosecution counsel said that the credible evidences adduced by the prosecution witnesses were corroborated by the defendant himself in the three statement he made to security agents.
“His admission that he was a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Matters also corroborate the evidence of the prosecution that he had volume of information on the terrorists group which he refused to give to the government.
“The volume of information found on him was revealing and warranted his been charged to court,” Okafor argued.
The counsel arguing further said the prosecution is not fishing for information but in law the defendant has to offer information being a member of the Presidential Committee on Security Matter.
“Let the point be made here that witnesses of the government have by one way or the other linked the charge against the defendant and this court as an impartial court should order the defendant to open defence on the charges against him. It is even in the interest of the defendant and justice that this case be heard on its own merit, instead of upholding the no-case submission,” Okafor added.
Justice Kolawole after taking arguments from the two parties adjourned ruling till July 4, 2017.
The federal government had in 2011 arraigned Senator Ndume for allegedly supporting the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.