Yakubu Busari, Jos
The over eight years trial of Senator Danjuma Goje, of Gombe state and Senate Committee Chairman on Appropriation, on Friday took a new dimension, when on resumption of hearing at a Federal High Court No. 2 sitting in Jos Division, the office of the Attorney General of the Federation through her representative said, “My Lord, I have the consent of the Attorney General to take over the case for the interest of Justice. The Attorney General expressed his appreciation to all the parties.”
It was the first sign that the Federal Government of Nigeria may withdraw charges in the money laundering suit against Senator Goje, for lack of merit, as the Attorney General of the Federation has signified interest to take over the on June 21, 2019.
A Federal High Court No. 2 had held an emergency sitting on Friday morning. The emergency sitting didn’t last 30 minutes and it was confirmed officially before the honourable court.
The prosecution counsel to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, (EFCC), Barr. Wahab Shittu after announcing his presence in court said he wanted to step aside to allow the Attorney General of the Federation to continue with the prosecution.
He said: “You would recalled that the Federal High Court sitting in Jos Division has been asked to withdraw charges against late Alh Sambo Mohammed Tumu of Gombe state who died in car accident. Tumu was one of the principal witness in the suit.
Shittu did not object to the application, saying, “absolutely no objection my Lord for Attorney General to take over at this stage. He echoed the AGF further; , “We wish to express our gratitude to the court and learned silk for almost 8 years of the prosecution. The EFCC has already briefed us on the development. On this note, we take a bow and wish the interest of Justice served.”
Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SAN, Chris Uche and Paul Eroko for Goje, earlier told the court that they had no objections to the suit against Goje being taking over by the Attorney General of the Federation.
Eroko said “no objection, pursuant to section 174 Sub-1(v) of the Constitution,” and expressed “hope that it would expedite action, because 19 out of 21 charges had gone.”
Chris Uche was absent at the last sitting owning to the Goje’s ill health and EFCC had moved a fresh application amendment of the charges against Goje then.
But after the emergency meeting on Friday, a day after the Aso Villa meeting for Lawan’s candidacy, the presiding judge, Justice Babatude Quadri adjourned hearing to June 21 2019 for the Attorney General of the Federation to take over the case and for the respondents to open their defence.
The former Governor of Gombe state, Goje was one of the candidates eyeing the seat of Senate President until yesterday Thursday meeting in Aso Villa, Abuja, with President Buhari in the company of Governor Nasri el-Rufai, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator –elect for Kaduna Central, Uba Sani. At the meeting, he was prevailed upon to step down for Senator Lawan, the party’s anointed candidate and support him before Tuesday, June 11 plenary sitting at the Senate when the Federal lawmakers would elect their principal officers.
Its was gathered that the 21 counts charge against the former Governor of Gombe state might likely be quashed based on section 175 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which gives power to the Attorney General of the Federation to withdraw charges against any citizen in the interest of justice or for peaceful co-existence to prevail in the country.
In the case between the Federal Republic of Nigeria Vs Former Governor of Gombe State, Sen. Danjuma Goje and 3 orders who are standing trial of money laundering in Jos, the 4th accused person, Tumu, had died in a car accident during the prolonged hearing.