By Aishat Salihu
Former Niger State Governor, Babangida Aliyu and an ex-Commissioner for Environment, Umar Nasko have been re-arraigned before a Federal High Court in Minna for alleged money laundering by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The pair answered to an eight-count charge of criminal conspiracy and laundering of over N1.940 billion ecological funds released by the federal government to the state in 2014.
The alleged offences, however, are contrary to section 18(a) of the money laundering act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same law.
The duo was reportedly arraigned following the transfer of their cases to Justice Aminu Aliyu as the former presiding judge had been moved.
Although, both pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them but Olajide Ayodele, a counsel to the first defendant, said he had filed an application for bail in which he prayed the court would grant.
Meanwhile, the counsel to the second defendant, Daniel Omako, also urged the court to exercise its discretion by granting his client bail.
In reaction to this, Boniface Bassey, the prosecution counsel, told the court that he would leave the issue of bail to the discretion of the court.
The presiding judge, Justice Aliyu thereafter ruled to restore the bail earlier granted by Justice Yellim Bogoro and adjourned the matter to July 4, for further hearing.