SSS vs Boko Haram Senator Latest: Senator Ali Ndume Fails To Get Bail

A Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday, declined to order the State Security Service, SSS, to release Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume from its custody, though it struck out the two-count criminal charge preferred against the embattled lawmaker by the security agency.

Ndume, who is representing Borno South Senatorial District, was charged to court over allegation that he was not only a major financier of the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect, but equally furnished them with classified information. He is facing trial alongside a self-confessed spokesman of the sect, Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (a.ka Al-Zawahiri), who had on the last adjourned date pleaded guilty to the charge against them.

SSS had in the First Information Report, FIR, it tendered before the lower court, maintained that, “on diverse dates between September 15 and November 3, at Abuja and Maiduguri in Borno State, Mohammed Ali Ndume and Ali Sanda Umar Konduga (a.k.a Al-Zawahiri), spokesman of the Boko Haram sect, did conspire to commit felony to wit: breach of official trust in that Mohammed Ali Ndume disclosed classified information to persons to whom he ought not in the public interest to so disclose.”

Even as it further alleged that the accused persons, “did intimidate by anonymous communication, some senior public officials including the Attorney General of the Federation, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Sections 79, 98 and 398 of the Penal Code and punishable under section 99(b) and 398 of the same code.”

Whereas the lawmaker on November 22 pleaded not guilty to the said charge, his co-accused, Konduga, on the other hand, admitted his complicity to the crime, a situation that led presiding Magistrate Oyebiola Oyewumi to order their remand. However, the 1st accused, Ndume, subsequently approached the court with an application seeking his release from detention pending the hearing and determination of the case. 

After entertaining legal arguments from both the defence and the prosecuting counsel last Thursday, the presiding Magistrate adjourned ruling on the bail application till yesterday. Meanwhile, at the resumed sitting on the matter yesterday, the SSS compounded woes of the embattled lawmaker who had already spent two weeks in its custody, by applying to withdraw the two-count charge upon which his bail application was predicated.

The prosecuting counsel, Mr. Cliff Osagie, who made the oral application yesterday, told the court that the SSS had no option than to terminate the suit, saying the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN, has initiated a fresh criminal charge against the accused persons before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court. Consequently, Osagie urged the lower court to hands-off the case since a higher court has assumed jurisdiction on the same subject matter.

In view of the development, trial Magistrate Oyewumi, in a short ruling yesterday, noted that Ndume’s bail application was overtaken by events, just as she accordingly struck out the FIR before the court. Nevertheless, the trial Magistrate insisted that having convicted the 2nd accused person on the last adjourned date, his sentencing will proceed before the court today as it was earlier scheduled.

It will be recalled that Konduga who addressed the court through an interpreter on the day they were arraigned, told the court that whilst he acted as the spokesman of the sect, the 1st accused, Ndume, furnished them with classified information but equally gives them the phone numbers of highly placed persons who he said they often called or atimes, sent threat text messages to.

He confessed that the last batch of text messages he sent to government officials in his capacity as the Boko Haram spokesman before he was subsequently stripped off the rank over suspicion that he was double-crossing the sect, included threat messages to the Governors of Niger and Nasarawa states, to former Minister of Works, Sanusi Daggash, to the chairman of the Borno state election tribunal, Justice Sabo and to one Ambassador Dalhatu Tafida.

Meantime, Senator Ndume yesterday approached the Federal High Court with a similar bail application he ab-initio filed before the Magistrate Court. In a motion on notice filed on his behalf by Mr. Rickey Tarfa, SAN, the lawmaker vowed that he will not interfere with investigations of either the SSS or any other security agency in respect of the allegation against him if granted bail.

He equally promised not to commit any offence while on bail in addition to complying with whatever conditions the court may wish to impose to secure his attendance in court, saying his health has deteriorated owing to his continued incarceration.