A Katsina High Court yesterday ruled that the status quo be maintained till the determination of an application on the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the matter brought before it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against former governor Ibrahim Shema and three others.
The EFCC dragged Shema alongside his former commissioner of Local government Hamisu Makana, his former permanent secretary Lawal Rufa’I and former ALGON chairman Lawal Dankaba on 22-count charges bordering on alleged financial misdemeanor of about N11 billion local government funds.
At the commencement of sitting, neither the plea of the accused nor charges could be read to him as Shema’s counsel JB Daudu (SAN) drew the attention of the court to a preliminary objection application filled on the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case.
He also argued that the application of the prosecution counsel of remanding the accused in prison could not hold water since the jurisdiction of even the court on the matter was at stake.
In his submissions, the prosecution counsel Jibrin Otekpa (SAN) told the court that since EFCC granted administrative bail to Shema, it had become difficult to reach out to him as he had failed to report weekly as requested, as such remanding him would make it easier for the commission to meet him when necessary.
In his ruling, Justice Maikaita Bako ruled that since the issue of jurisdiction of the court had arisen, it was only pertinent to rule on that before commencement of the case and asked parties involved to maintain the status quo before adjourning to February 7th for ruling on the application.
There was jubilation by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who thronged the court and adjourning roads in solidarity with the former governor.
Members and supporters of the party later marched on to the party secretariat for a solidarity rally in support of the ruling before moving to Dutsinma town, the country home of Shema.
During his appearance at the court, Shema who wore a flowing ‘Baban Riga’ was accompanied by the state PDP chairman Salisu Majigiri, and former party chairman Rabiu Gambo Bakori, North West secretary PDP Bishir Tanimu, former commissioners, special advisers and party supporters.
Personalities at the court from the ruling APC included the Secretary to the State Government Mustapha Inuwa, commissioners, heads of local government administrations, special advisers, amongst others.
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