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Ex-NIRSAL MD arraigned over alleged forgery


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Mr Aliyu Abdulhameed, former Managing Director of Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) Plc, was arraigned with document forgery before a Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

Abdulhameed and Babangida Abdullahi were charged with ten counts each before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

They were permitted to the terms of administrative bail previously given to them by the police.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Ekwo had, on Feb. 10, fixed today for the defendants to take their plea

Upon resumed hearing, prosecuting counsel, Celestine Odo, informed the court that the matter was scheduled for arraignment of the duo and that he was ready to proceed.

Odo applied that the charge be read to the defendants to take their plea.

After the defendants pleaded not guilty to the 10 counts, the police lawyer sought a date for their trial.

He also prayed the court to remand Abdulhameed and Abdullahi in Kuje Correctional Centre.

Odo, who hinted that five witnesses had been listed in the charge, said that the prosecution would not call more than three witnesses to establish their case against the defendants.

He said documentary evidence would equally be tendered by the witnesses.

“You are going to bundle the documentary evidence per witness and paginate it from page 1 to the end.

“I will take the documentary evidence in a bundle and will not entertain any objection on admissibility.

“Parties will be at liberty to address the court at the conclusion of trial on both admissibility and probative value,” the judge said.

Defendants’ lawyer, Akin Olujimi, SAN, however, applied for their bail.

Olujimi said he had earlier filed the bail applications of the defendants on Feb. 24 and that the prosecution had not filed any counter affidavit in opposition.

Odo, who confirmed that they were served with the application, said the prosecution was not opposing the request.

The judge, who admitted them to bail on the terms of the administrative bail, adjourned the matter until May 20, May 21, May 22 and May 23 for trial.

He, however, ordered the prosecution to transfer particulars of their bail to the court registry.

NAN reports that the criminal, dated and filed Nov. 28, 2023, was marked: FHC)ABJ/CR/555/2023.

In the charge signed by CSP Celestine Odo, Legal/Prosecution Section of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, the defendants, and others now at large, were alleged to have, about Oct. 23, 2023, conspired among themselves to commit an offence of forgery.

In count two, the defendants, and others now at large, sometime in Oct. 23, 2023, were alleged to have conspired among themselves to commit an offfence.

The offences are said to be contrary to Section 3(6) and punishable under Section 1(2){c} of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, Cap. M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2010.

NAN reports that former President Muhammadu Buhari had, on Dec. 1, 2022, fired Abdulhammed on allegations of corruption bordering on agricultural loans.

NIRSAL, a $500m non-bank financial institution, is a creation of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mandated to manage agribusiness-related credit risks in Nigeria.





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