L-R: Gbenga Daniel, Alao-Akala, and Doma.
Oct 11, 2011 – It was a waiting game yesterday in Ibadan, Abeokuta and Lafia in Oyo, Ogun and Nasarawa states.
A large crowd waited for hours for the arraignment of former Governors Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo), Gbenga Daniel (Ogun) and Aliyu Akwe Doma (Nasarawa).
But the crowd left disappointed following the non-arraignment of the suspects, who are in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Former Gombe State Governor Danjuma Goje joined them in custody yesterday. He was detained when he reported to EFCC in Abuja.
Alao-Akala, Daniel and Doma’s trial was stalled because of the conference of Federal High Court Judges which started in Sokoto yesterday.
EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi confirmed that they could not be arraigned because of the judges’ conference.
They are alleged to have defrauded their states of N101 billion.
Daniel is accused of N58 billion fraud, Alao-Akala, N25 billion and Doma, N18 billion.
Daniel and Alao-Akala, it was learnt, may be arraigned today before the State High Court in Abeokuta and Ibadan. They were flown to their home states yesterday ahead of other arraignment.
Doma is expected to face trial at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, Abuja, sources said, because “most of the mismanaged funds traced to him were allegedly spent in Abuja”.
In Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, lawyers, supporters, friends and family of Alao-Akala as well as reporters shuttled between the Federal High Court, where he was to be arraigned for money laundering and related offences and the state high court, where he was expected to be arraigned for alleged stealing.
Before reporters left the state high court at 4.20p.m., no EFCC official was seen.
The car park was filled; politicians discussed the development in hushed tone, while awaiting the former governor’s arraignment.
Some officials of the State Security Service (SSS) came around and left about 2.45p.m.
Alao-Akala’s loyalists and reporters spent hours on the phone, trying to ascertain if he would be arraigned.
A court official told reporters: “You people would have to go because we are not sure if Alao-Akala will be arraigned in court today (yesterday). I know you have been waiting since morning and I think it will be fair if I let you know the situation on ground. Alao-Akala may not be arraigned today again as the charges against him are just being filed at the court …”
An anxious crowd waited in vain at the Federal High Court, Oke–Mosan, for Daniel’s arraignment.
Daniel, it was learnt, was not brought to court because the case has not been filed.
As early as 8:30am, the crowd gathered at the court entrance but armed security men prevented them from entering.
Security was tight. The team was led by Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Wale Lawal. Court officials, reporters and others were frisked by men from the Bomb Detection and Disposal Unit before being allowed in.
A handful of supporters of Daniel and members of the Peoples Party of Nigerian (PPN) stood in clusters, discussing on the street adjacent to the court. By 11:25a.m., the crowd began to disperse.
A senior court official told The Nation that Daniel’s case has not been filed, adding that they got to know of his planned trial in Abeokuta through media reports.
The official said there would be no sitting this week in all Federal High Court as the judges are in Sokoto, observing their legal year.According to him, Daniel’s trial will not begin until charges against him are formally filed before the court.
In Lafia, supporters of Doma and youths loyal to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), clashed yesterday in Lafia as they awaited the arrival of Doma from Abuja for arraignment.
After a long wait, they brought out placards with different inscriptions, many of which bore unprintable words. The Nation