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16 Aug

Terrorism Charge: Court Acquits Senator Ali Ndume

A federal high court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday acquitted Senator Ali Ndume of charges bordering on sponsorship of the Boko Haram terrorist group.

The presiding judge, Gabriel Kolawole, dismissed the four charges of terrorism levelled against the senator on the grounds that no prime facie case was established against him.

Upholding the defendant’s no-case submission, the judge ruled that the prosecution failed to link the defendant with the alleged crime of withholding information on terrorism activities as well as sponsoring the sect.

The charges were instituted against him by the federal government in 2011.

It would be recalled that in November 2011, Senator Ndume was reported to be linked to Boko Haram. This alleged connection to Boko Haram was made following the Nigerian State Security Service’s interrogation of a suspected Boko Haram member and spokesman, Mallam Ali Konduga. The Boko Haram spokesman had said Ndume paid him to send threatening text messages.

Ndume was subsequently arraigned on December 12, 2011, on four counts of terrorism charges under the terrorism (Prevention) act, 2011.

The prosecution had alleged that the senator was providing logistics to aid Boko Haram in their operations including giving them access to contacts of top government officials.

The judge, while striking out the charges, faulted the prosecution for failing to provide enough evidence in respect of the charges.

Kolawole said although the defendant admitted to having contact with the sect members while acting on behalf of the federal government in the presidential committee set up to look at the security challenges in the north-east and volunteering information to top government officials including Namadi Sambo, former vice-president, the prosecution did not invite them to give evidence in the trial.

The judge also made reference to Ndume’ s statements where he had claimed that, contrary to the prosecution’s case, he had disclosed information about the sect to Sambo and the then Director-General of the Department of State Service.

He said the failure of the prosecution to invite the parties mentioned to give evidence had disrupted the case as it hindered the prosecution from proving the allegations.

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