Court returns Lamido’s case file to central registry for reassignment

Former Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido.

Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on Monday returned the case of the former Jigawa Governor, Sule Lamido to the court’s central registry for reassignment.

Lamido, his sons, Aminu and Mustapha, alongside Aminu Abubakar, Batholomew Agoha, and three companies are facing a 43-count charge, bordering on corruption.

Quadri had admitted Lamido to bail in the sum of N100 million, while others were admitted to bail in the sum of N50 million each and two sureties each in like sum.

Lamido and his co-defendants were arraigned before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court, Kano State, on July 9, 2015 for allegedly misappropriating funds belonging to Jigawa Government.

The case was later transferred to the Federal High Court, Abuja, where Justice Gabriel Kolawole, a vacation judge, granted them bail, and adjourned the matter until Sept. 22, 2015.

The matter was then assigned to Justice Adeniyi Ademola, but following his arrest and prosecution by the Department of State Service (DSS), the matter was transferred to Quadri.

Following the acquittal of Ademola, one of his counsel, Mr Offiong Offiong (SAN) prayed the court to return the matter to Ademola on the grounds that 18 witnesses had already testified.

But the prosecuting counsel, Mr Chike Okoroma, objected on the grounds that the lead counsel to Lamido, Mr Joe Agi (SAN) was tried alongside Ademola for corruption related offences.

He said that it would be wrong for Agi to defend a case before Ademola because the public perception would be that the judge was bias, whichever way the verdict went.

The matter later went to the Court of Appeal and the appellate court held that the matter should continue before Ademola.

At the resumed hearing on Monday, Quadri noted that, “in view of the recent developments, the case is remitted to the central registry for further directives by the Chief Judge of the court.’’

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that Ademola had in December 2017, tendered a letter of resignation as a judge of the court.

This was followed shortly by the announcement of his compulsory retirement by the National Judicial Council.

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